Lowe in Command as Starter

APPLETON, Wisc. - On a team filled with big name prospects, perhaps the most impressive stat line from the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers season opener Thursday night came from one of the most unexpected places – the mound.

Starting pitcher Mark Lowe, selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 5th round of last June's draft, was making just the fourth start of his professional career on opening night, but showed no signs of nervousness, tossing a gem in the 3-1 Timber Rattlers victory. The right-hander threw six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and striking out six.

The command that Lowe displayed throughout his outing was impressive enough, but take into consideration that only three of his eighteen appearances last season with the Everett AquaSox were starts, and the performance becomes remarkable.

Timber Rattlers pitching coach and former big-league pitcher Brad Holman agrees.

"I've seen him make tremendous progress," said Holman. "He was a closer last year, and we had one start in spring training where I asked him if he was to go out and pitch with just his fastball, would he throw everyone as hard as he could, and he said no, I'd probably change speeds and locations and sink one and ride one up in the zone. So I said 'why can't you do that when you add a breaking ball and a change up along side of it.' And he absolutely adhered to it his first start here."

The University of Texas-Arlington product was nothing short of spectacular in adhering to the gameplan set out by his pitching coach.

Lowe had impeccable command of all of his pitches, leaving Peoria Chiefs batters confused and guessing all night long. When asked what he thought the major difference was starting a game verses entering from the bullpen, Lowe responded like a 10-year veteran.

"Coming in as a starter you kind of pace yourself," he said. "You have less adrenaline, you have to gain that throughout the game. Out of the bullpen, you have all that adrenaline already. To me, that's the biggest difference."

So what does Lowe have to do to sustain the controlled adrenaline and continue the success he began on Thursday night at Fox Cities Stadium?

"Keep the same game plan," Lowe said. "As long as I stick to my game plan when everything's working for me, and the nights that I don't have my best stuff; that I compete and do whatever I have to do to get guys out and give our team a chance to win."

To the Timber Rattler's delight, as well as his own, Lowe didn't just give his team a great chance to win, but he made sure Peoria had absolutely no chance to challenge the T-Rats on the scoreboard. Taking the game into his own hands, Lowe proved to be more than worthy of starting on opening day.

"To his credit, his aptitude is pretty high," Holman said of Lowe. "And he seems like the type of kid who will make adjustments very quickly."

To summarize, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers have an intelligent 21-year-old starting pitcher who has not only bought into his coaches philosophies, but he's already put the blueprint to the test – and made it look easy.

Ladies and gentleman, what we may have here is a star in the making.

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