By: Jack Dunn ~Staff Writer~
The Xavier Musketeers have their first-ever ranked baseball prospect, with junior left-handed Zac Lowther ranking number 99 on Baseball America’s Top 100 MLB Draft Prospects list.
Lowther moved into the rotation after making 12 appearances his freshman year. He ranked fourth on the team with a .247 ERA and an opponents’ batting average of .247, which ranked third. In his last five outings, he picked up wins against Georgetown and Dayton.
After a strong freshman season, Lowther truly broke out sophomore year. After leading Xavier in starts (16), wins (7), innings pitched (102.0) and strikeouts, he helped Xavier clinch the Big East title for an appearance in the NCAA baseball tournament over the summer. For his efforts during the season, Lowther earned All-Big East Second team, Big East All-American team and Big East Pitcher of the Week (5/23) honors.
Lowther has followed up being awarded the 2017 Preseason All-Big East honors with an impressive start. In eight games this year, he is 3-2 with a 3.13 ERA. In 46 innings pitched, he’s only given up 23 hits, which is a team low for starting pitchers. In addition to only giving up two home runs this season, he also has the lowest opener batting average of .150.
As of April 10, Lowther is second in the nation with 13.95 strikeouts per nine innings, as well as ranked seventh nationally with 4.73 hits per nine innings. The southpaw is the only player from the Big East to be ranked this year. In Big East play, Lowther has an impressive 0.64 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 14 innings, including a win over Seton Hall, where he kept the Pirates scoreless through six innings while striking out nine.
Even though Lowther is the first baseball player from Xavier to be ranked, he would not be the first Musketeer to be drafted by the MLB. After a season to remember last year, two players from the 2016 team were drafted. Catcher Dan Rizzie went in the 13th round to the New York Mets while infielder Andre Jernigan went in the 14th round to the Minnesota Twins. With these selections, Xavier has had 12 players drafted since 2005.
Lowther looks to continue pitching well when the Musketeers take on the Butler Bulldogs this weekend.