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|Bowden receives honors|
Southern Mississippi senior pitcher Barry Bowden has always been a slow starter throughout his career in Hattiesburg.
But the Vidalia native has been anything but slow this season.
In two games, Bowden (2-0) has 14.1 innings, allowed five hits and one run for a 0.63 earned run average.
"The first of the year is usually pretty shaky for me," Bowden said. "But I feel good and it's given me some extra confidence, which is good with the conference opener coming up in a couple of weeks."
Bowden was named the National Pitcher of the Week by Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball Newspaper and Conference USA Pitcher of the Week after his dominating performance at No. 25 Louisiana Lafayette Friday night.
Bowden earned his second career All-C-USA Pitcher of the Week honor. He won the award last season after his first career complete-game over East Carolina.
"The awards are awesome," Bowden said. "It really gives a boost to my confidence knowing all the other pitchers throwing during the week."
In USM's opener against Lipscomb, Bowden went five-and-a-third innings while allowing only three hits and striking out four.
"Barry did a good job for his first start of the season, he got to the sixth and got a little bit tired, but he was also at his pre-set pitch count," said USM head coach Corky Palmer.
His next start came against No. 25 Louisiana-Lafayette on Friday.
In that contest, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound right-hander tossed a complete-game two-hit shutout in Lafayette to lead the No. 29 Golden Eagles past the Ragin Cajuns 6-0 in the first road game of the season for Southern Miss.
"Barry threw a tremendous game on the road in a hostile stadium," Palmer said. "Barry has always been a big game pitcher and tonight was no different."
Bowden was spectacular on the mound against the No. 25 team in the nation's home opener at ML Tigue Field. He threw nine innings allowing only two hits and striking out a 10 without walking anyone. His 10 strikeouts tied his career high for strikeouts in a game and it was his fourth career compete game.
Bowden threw 99 pitches over the nine innings, 68 for strikes in his complete-game effort.
"I think that was one of my top three pitching performances, if not the top," Bowden said. "I was just able to locate my pitches and I was filling the plate with a lot of strikes. My location was the main thing. In my first game I was falling behind the hitters and throwing a lot of pitches. I felt more comfortable Friday and was getting ahead of the hitters. I felt I was in a zone about the third inning. It took a little bit to get the feel of my change-up, but later in the game it was working really well."
The first five innings was a pitchers duel between Bowden and ULL's Danny Farquhar. Through five innings there was only one hit between the two teams and that was a ULL single in the first inning. Farquhar was perfect through five and a third innings before Southern Miss found their offense.
"I knew it was going to be a battle," Bowden said. "I don't usually pay too much attention to how well the other pitcher is doing, I just try and go out and do my job and keep my team in it."
The loss was the first season-opening home loss for ULL coach Tony Robichaux, who is in his 14th season as Ragin' Cajun coach.
"It's always a little bit extra deal when I play in my home state," Bowden said.
This season, college baseball's start was pushed back a couple of weeks by the NCAA.
"I was talking to Coach Palmer about throwing more in intrasquad games, but we stayed with the regular schedule and it really hasn't affected me," Bowden said.
Bowden is scheduled to pitch again Friday at No. 15 Cal State Fullerton.
"I miss pitching some of the midweek games against teams like Ole Miss, LSU and Louisiana-Monroe," Bowden said. "But I know how important the weekend series is, especially when we start conference play."
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