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|Bowden gets first win at NW Arkansas|
Vidalia's Barry Bowden picked up his first win in double-A as the Northwest Arkansas Naturals defeated Tulsa 4-3 Sunday, dashing the Drillers' playoff hopes.
"That was a great feeling," Bowden said. "I tried not to think about the score, I just put that in the back of my mind and went out there to have some fun. I had some bad luck in the first outing, but things turned around more my way this time."
The dramatic win clinched the second half North Division title for Northwest Arkansas and came on a night in which the Naturals honored their one millionth fan in front of a crowd of 8,041, the second highest crowd of the season.
Two defensive highlights by the Naturals helped out Bowden in Tulsa's half of the ninth. Right fielder Nick Van Stratten made an amazing sliding catch in right-center on a fly ball from the speedy Michael Mitchell, and, after Bowden walked Jason Van Kooten, Bowden was able to grab a grounder off the bat of Blackmon and double up Van Kooten at second for an inning-ending twin killing.
Bowden (1-1), who also kept Tulsa off the board in the eighth, ended up with the win.
The win also ensures that Springfield will make the post-season as a wild card entry and the Naturals' first round opponent. Game one is today (Wednesday) at Arvest Ballpark.
With the win, the Naturals (43-26, 85-54) now claim the best single-season half in the team's short history. Perhaps more impressive, they have won more games than any Kansas City Royals' Double-A affiliate in Royals' franchise history.
Johnny Giavotella, representing the winning run drew a walk off
Bowden, who started out the season with the Wilmington Blue Rocks, the high Class A team of the Kansas City Royals, who shipped to triple-A Omaha where he competed in two games before being sent down to double-A Northwest Arkansas and then back to the Wilmington Blue Rocks.
"The deal with Omaha was kind of a filler deal," Bowden said. "I was supposed to be sent back down to Arkansas, but they had some bullpen problems with guys struggling in Wilmington."
In his first game in triple-A on June 26, Bowden gave up three runs in the eighth inning on two home runs against Oklahoma City.
But in his second career Triple-A relief outing, the former Vidalia High all-State pitcher tossed a scoreless eighth inning against Round Rock.
When former LSU pitcher Louis Coleman was assigned from Northwest Arkansas to Omaha earlier this summer, Bowden was sent down to the Springfield, Ark., team.
"I like it in Arkansas because I know a bunch of the guys from Wilmington," Bowden said. "I just hope I can continue moving up and trying to have success. It's a long season, but the playoffs are a different atmosphere. We're anxious to get it started."
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