Zac Lowther completed his lifelong goal April 25 when he took a big-league mound and pitched against the Oakland Athletics — and he had the pleasure of doing so in front of his infant daughter.
Lowther pitched one inning of relief, allowing one single to Jed Lowrie and striking out one in a scoreless ninth inning. Lowther envisioned this particular moment for his entire life, but it was nothing like he expected.
“The entire game I was anxious just leading up to that moment because you see the big stadium and all the fans and all that stuff,” Lowther said on Glenn Clark Radio April 27. “You see these things and you picture it in your head and it’s so much bigger in your head. Once you step on the field and it’s your time to pitch, you have this confidence boost because you’re so used to do this one action.”
Lowther did not walk away from his first appearance empty-handed, as he was able to take home the baseballs from his first pitch and first strikeout.
His opportunity in the big leagues was well-earned. The 25-year-old lefty has been incredibly productive in the minors, posting a cumulative 2.26 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP during 326 minor-league innings from 2017-2019. He also registered 380 strikeouts during that time frame — better than a strikeout an inning.
The former third-round pick out of Xavier has had a lot to adjust to during his path to the bigs. He was one of the many minor leaguers who didn’t get to play in any live games in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lowther credited the alternate site at Double-A Bowie as the catalyst for his continued improvement in the midst of that obstacle.
Lowther was working at the alternate site in Bowie throughout the month of April as well.
“You’re able to try new things there that you wouldn’t be able to try in the middle of the season,” Lowther said of working at the alternate site. “Changing a swing or trying a new pitch, you’re able to work on that and get consequence-free reps down here.”
Not only has his trajectory to the show been hectic, but his home life has changed for the better as well. In early January, he and his wife, Brianna, welcomed their first daughter, Isabelle, into the world. Brianna and Isabelle were in attendance for Lowther’s big-league debut.
“My life changed a whole lot. From what I did growing up with my parents, there was a lot I wanted to do with my son or daughter, and I’ve gotten to do quite a bit of it,” Lowther said. “My wife and daughter came down to the Florida for spring training, and that’s something I always wanted to do with my family. I got to pitch in front of my daughter — she’s 2.5, 3 months old so it was more selfishly for me.”
“I didn’t realize these things would be that important, but it makes everything so much better,” he added.
Isabelle is going to be brought up in an athletic family; in addition to Lowther, his wife played softball in high school. Lowther has made it a point to attempt to focus on things aside from baseball during family time.
“We kind keep baseball to a limited amount of talk at the house because it consumes so much of our life,” Lowther said. “We have 10-15 minutes each day where we are allowed to talk about it, and then after that it’s just life.”
Lowther was optioned back to the alternate site following his appearance and is set to pitch for Triple-A Norfolk. But based on his lengthy track record and clean first appearance, he will most likely reappear in Baltimore in no time.
For more from Lowther, listen to the full interview here: