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|Bowden seeking regional win at LSU|
Vidalia's Barry Bowden is hoping the fourth time is the charm.
Bowden will be pitching in his fourth straight NCAA Regional Friday in Baton Rouge after three close losses the last three years.
Southern Mississippi, the No. 3 seed in the Baton Rouge Regional at LSU, faces the University of New Orleans at 6 p.m. No. 1-seeded LSU meets No. 4-seeded Texas Southern at 1 p.m. Friday.
Bowden will get the start for Southern Miss against New Orleans.
"I'm ready and I'm pumped," Bowden said.
As a redshirt freshman in 2005, Bowden faced Oklahoma, with the Golden Eagles falling 5-4. USM fell to Maine, 12-2 in their second game.
As a sophomore, Bowden was the starting pitching in USM's 10-8 loss to Troy in the Tuscaloosa Regional in 2006.
Last year at the Ole Miss Regional, Bowden pitched the second game, going six innings against Ole Miss in a 4-0 loss to the Rebels.
Bowden is currently having his best season, earning first team Conference-USA honors as a senior pitcher.
Bowden was the winning pitcher in USM's 5-3 win over Marshall last week in New Orleans in the Golden Eagles' second game of the C-USA Tournament.
"I'll be honest with you, you never know in baseball, but it helps having Barry Bowden as your pitcher," said USM head coach Corky Palmer. "He's one of the finest pitchers in the South. He's a guy that changes people's eye levels and does different things with his change."
Bowden (8-3) had another solid start for the Golden Eagles working six innings allowing two runs, one earned on four Herd hits walking one and striking out six.
"I'm a lot more confident this year and just the experience of having been there before helps out and keeps the emotions down," Bowden said.
Bowden got off to a blazing start this year before injuring a muscle in his right shoulder on April 5.
Against Memphis before the C-USA Tournament, Bowden threw five innings without allowing a hit and walking only one, retiring the first 14 batters he faced before issuing a walk to KK Chambers with two outs in the fourth inning. In his five innings of work he struck out six Tiger hitters.
"I felt good in that outing and that gives me even more confidence going into the Regional," Bowden said. "I'm having a lot better year this year and hopefully that can carry over into the Regional."
Bowden enters the Baton Rouge Regional with a 1.62 earned run average. He has struck out 75 and walked 20 over 666 2/3 innings.
Southern Miss defeated Troy in its opener in the Ole Miss Regional last year before falling to Ole Miss and Sam Houston State.
USM went 2-1 in Tuscaloosa two years ago, falling to Troy twice, while posting a win over Jacksonville State.
Bowden said it's important for the Golden Eagles to stay in the winner's bracket to save their pitching.
"There are two tough teams in UNO and LSU," Bowden said. "I don't know a lot about Texas Southern. UNO hits the ball real well and LSU is probably one of the hottest teams in the country."
Bowden pitched against LSU last year in a regular season game, as the Golden Eagles fell 15-8 to the Tigers.
"I would have liked to have pitched against LSU again, but I'll throw whenever coach tells and gives me the ball," he said. "I'm hoping to go at least seven innings, late enough in the game to still give us a chance to win it. We know it's going to be a wild atmosphere down there, but we've got a lot of older guys who have been there before and that should help us."
UNO, which lost to Western Kentucky in the Sun Belt championship game, is among the top 15 hitting teams in the nation.
The Privateers are starting Justin Garcia (6-1, 5.59 ERA) against USM. Garcia is considered their No. 2 pitcher. UNO players have been quoted as talking about how they beat LSU during the regular season and are confident they can beat them again, apparently slighting USM in the process.
"I've heard that," Bowden said. "That gives us some incentive. Hopefully that will come back to bite them. I'm just going in with the idea of pitching smart, hitting my spots and trying not to overthrow."
The Golden Eagles (40-18) reached the 40 win plateau for the eighth time in school history and the first since the 2005 season.
This season marks the fifth time that Southern Miss has won 40 games in a season under Palmer after winning 39 games the last two seasons.
"It would be great if we could get to a Super Regional," Bowden said. "I would love to help take this program to the next level. It would be awesome."
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