Zac Lowther keeps on racking up the K's.
Baltimore's No. 15 prospect struck out 10 while allowing one hit over six innings in the Class A Delmarva's 7-0 win over Hickory at L.P. Frans Stadium on Wednesday. He reached the double-digit mark in whiffs for the third time in six outings this season.
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"Today was one of the first days I had all my pitches working for me," said Lowther. "Just being able to work early with the fastball and bring my off-speed later in the game was a big proponent for me. I was able to control the zone and command my pitches where I wanted to, which was a big asset for me."
The left-hander also went six innings for the second time in 2018 after his shortest appearance of the year in his previous start. Lowther (3-1) gave up one run on two hits with two strikeouts in three innings against Columbia on May 15. In his season debut on April 9, he didn't give up a hit through six innings against Hickory, which set the pace for the year.
"You always want to get off to a good start," said Lowther. "Going up another level, that's what I wanted to go out there and prove. Being able to go out there each inning and give your team the best chance to win by throwing zeros on the board, that's something that every starter wants to do."
After his abbreviated outing in his previous start, the 22-year-old was pleased with his response against the Crawdads.
"I just wanted to end that on a good note," he said. "Coming back from back soreness had something to do with that too. But being able to come back tonight was able to help a lot."
Lowther dealt with a lot of traffic on the basepaths, but the Crawdads only made it into scoring position three times -- all on steals of second base. Franklin Rollin walked and stole second in the first and sixth innings and Clayton Middleton did the same in the third. The lone knock the 22-year-old gave up was a single to third base by Tyler Ratliff.
"I think I was able to command the zone and use the pitches that worked well," said Lowther. "I can trust my defense behind me. Guys are making contact, but I'm throwing the pitch I want to throw and trusting the defense behind me. I think that's taking a lot of pressure off myself, not trying to just get everyone out myself."
The Xavier product made his pro debut last season with Class A Short Season Aberdeen, where he posted a 2-2 record with a 1.66 ERA in 54 1/3 frames. He's already gone 31 innings in the South Atlantic League and attests that to adding more pitches to his arsenal.
"I've had my fastball and curveball, but I've really been working on the changeup," Lowther said. "This year I've been able to throw it in games where I would have gone to a fastball. I've been able to work it in and make the hitter think about another pitch, and it's something we've been working on here all year."
Scott Burke also worked in and out of trouble, giving up two hits and two walks while fanning four over the next two frames and Gray Fenter closed the game after allowing a walk in the ninth.
Zach Jarrett paced the Shorebirds offense with a three-run blast and Seamus Curran went 3-for-5 with an RBI.