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College  | Story  | 3/12/2023

Duke/Wake Forest Pitching Reports

Craig Cozart     
Photo: Jonathan Santucci (Duke Athletics)
Players Featured: Rhett Lowder (Wake Forest), Jonathan Santucci (Duke), Camden Minacci (Wake Forest), Michael Massey (Wake Forest), Adam Boucher (Duke), Josh Hartle (Wake Forest), Sean Sullivan (Wake Forest)

Rhett Lowder, RHP, Wake Forest
Rhett Lowder got the starting nod on the mound for Wake Forest in the opening game of ACC play.  The 6-2/200 RHP is a well known commodity in the college ranks as he was Pitcher of the Year in the ACC in 2022 and also starred for the collegiate National Team this past summer.  We got to see the determined, deep seated competitive side of Lowder tonight as he never really seemed to get into his normal rhythm and had to navigate bases loaded situations in the 2nd and 3rd innings.  He came into the night having only surrendered 1 run so far this season but gave up a 3-spot in the 3rd.  However, he showed his moxie as he dug in and put up zeros in the 4th and 5th as his club came back to even the score 4-4.

Lowder has a refined delivery and repeats his mechanics at an extremely advanced level.  He loads well over the rubber and works in a clean linear path to foot strike.  His arm path is full and inline, hiding the ball until release and he loads the arm well at the top.  There is tremendous separation between the upper and lower body creating excellent torque as he accelerates through his 3/4 arm angle.  His repertoire is a quality 3-pitch mix with a FB that he moves around the zone at will that lived in the low-90s on this night peaking a couple times at 95 mph.  While the heater is a quality offering he pitches mostly off his SL and CH.  The slider is a mid-80s pitch with good tilt and spin in the 2,600+ range, generating ample swing and miss.  The change up has excellent deception that he uses at anytime in the count to RHHs and LHHs alike.  

Lowder went 5.0 IP, allowing 8 hits, 4 earned runs, walking 2 and striking out 6 batters. He goes about his work methodically and maintains a low heartbeat even in the tightest of moments.  With his pitchability and track record, he is a definite first day draft candidate in this years MLB Draft.  

Jonathan Santucci, LHP, Duke
Jonathan Santucci took the ball in the starters role for Duke in their first ACC contest of the season.  The 6-2/205 LHP is tremendously athletic and took with mound with an aggressive, attacking mentality from pitch one.  He set the tone early as he punched out the side in the first inning using nothing but his fastball.  He quite honestly dominated one of the best offenses in the nation in Wake Forest for the first time through the lineup.  While he had a career night with 11 strikeouts, he got the no-decision after going 4.1 IP.  He only allowed 3 hits, but his 4 walks helped contribute to eventually giving up 4 earned runs.  

Santucci works exclusively from the stretch and uses a small rocker step towards the 3B line when there are no runners on.  He loads strongly over the rubber with a quick belly high leg lift and carries his hands tight to his belt.  He breaks from there and works into a medium inline arm path, loading his hand quickly before accelerating through a low-3/4 arm angle.  He rides down the mound aggressively in his legs and does a good job creating distance with his glove side.  He braces well and works vertically over his front leg to a consistent release point.  While his FB didn't show overwhelming spin traits, he did get ample swing and miss with hitters consistently missing under the ball.  His heater sat in the mid-90s all night and peaked at 96 mph several times paving the way for much improved secondary stuff.  His slider has made massive strides since we saw it last spring and it played equally well to hitters on both sides of the plate.  It was a mid-80s offering with tight, abrupt two-plane break.  He landed it backdoor to righties seemingly at will and left handers had a difficult time pulling the trigger on it.  While he used it only sparingly, his CH is a solid pitch in the low-80s with arm side run and was a good addition the second time through the order to RHHs.  

The sophomore has made massive strides in all aspects of his game on the mound since his freshman campaign.  If he continues on this trajectory, he should get plenty of consideration as a first day pick in the 2024 MLB Draft.  

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