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Georgia Gwinnett College’s Hunter Peck delivers to the plate this season.

Georgia Gwinnett College ace Hunter Peck became the newest member of the Houston Astros organization last Friday when he signed a free agent deal after two record-shattering years with the Grizzlies.

Peck, who transferred to GGC after two years at Ferrum College in his hometown of Wakefield, Va., went 11-0 in his first season with the Grizzlies in 2018. Peck’s performances earned him the 2018 A.I.I. Pitcher of the Year Award.

“I think that 2018 was a growth year, finding myself and who I was away from Virginia because I felt like at Ferrum, I wasn’t at the competition that I thought I could be at,” Peck said during the 2020 GGC season. “I thought coming to Georgia would be a way to see where I stood and how good I really was because I don’t think I reached that at my school. I kind of took it as let’s see where I’m at and do my best and see where it takes me.”

After being sidelined by muscular arm injuries during the 2019 season, Peck and his pitching coach Steve Less began working on his changeup for the 2020 season.

“I took last year off and did nothing but rehab for eight months and came back this year,” Peck said. “I spent a lot of time on my changeup last year when I wasn’t playing. That’s my main pitch and it’s the pitch that catches every scout’s eye. That’s what has really changed my game as a pitcher.”

Before the 2020 season was cut short due to COVID-19, Peck walked just two batters, allowed 14 hits, racked up 56 strikeouts, and maintained a perfect 0.00 ERA in 38 innings. Peck also broke his own single game school record of 13 strikeouts from 2018 when he fanned 18 Lourdes College batters earlier this year.

As his numbers have continued to improve, Peck has also been working on the mental side of his game.

“This year, the mental side has blown my mind,” Peck said. “It really is all mental. Honestly, when I go on the mound, my main focus is don’t think anyone is in the box. Act like there isn’t anyone in the box that can hit the ball. With the defense behind me, I feel good about throwing strikes as well.”

Whether it be mental or physical growth, Peck plans to continue to improve as a player every time he steps on the mound.

“He’s getting better and better each time he pitches,” Less said. “Every outing is a little better than the last one with location, with pitch calling, just everything.”

— Christine Troyke contributed to this report.

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