NEW LONDON — A Stanly County native and former North Stanly Comets pitcher will soon begin his Major League Baseball journey.
The Cincinnati Reds selected Wake Forest right-handed pitcher Rhett Lowder with the seventh overall pick in the first round of the 2023 MLB Draft on Sunday.
“I’m super excited to come to Cincinnati, and I think it’s a great fit and a nice young team,” Lowder told reporters shortly after his name was called. “It’s nothing like I pictured, and it was like the biggest weight off your shoulders and also the most excitement you’ll ever have. There were so many emotions going into one.”
Lowder, 21, had a perfect 15-0 record during the 2023 season in 19 appearances and helped lead the Demon Deacons to the College World Series semifinals, where he pitched seven shutout innings against eventual champion LSU in his final collegiate performance.
The two-time ACC pitcher of the year had a 1.87 ERA over 120⅓ innings with 143 strikeouts and only 24 walks allowed during the 2023 season.
Lowder was ranked the No. 491 recruit in his high school class three years ago, but he quickly worked his way up to become a three-year starter at Wake and one of the top pitchers in college baseball.
“I wasn’t great in high school,” Lowder said. “I was an undersized kid. I’m still kind of small. But I put on some weight and came onto the scene later than some of my other peers. It’s a testament to some hard work that was put in and the program that we had at Wake.”
With a strong changeup and an improving breaking ball, the Demon Deacons ace could soon get a chance to pitch for the Dayton Dragons, the High-A affiliate of the Reds.