As an economics graduate from an Ivy League school, Matt Bowman knows the importance of numbers. But he didn't need an advanced degree to interpret Thursday's performance.
Bowman tied a career high with 11 strikeouts over seven shutout innings in the Double-A Binghamton Mets' 4-1 win over the visiting New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
The 22-year-old right-hander scattered four hits and issued one free pass, throwing 55 of 80 pitches for strikes while lowering his ERA to 0.75.
"I'm definitely happy with it," Bowman said. "When I throw, there are just two things I want -- to go deep and put up zeros. I was happy to do both and my peripherals were good too. I was happy with my strikeouts and [eight] ground balls.
"I thought I had a good mix of everything. I established my fastball, my slider and changeup were good and I managed to throw my curveball. Nothing was working particularly well, but Kevin Plawecki called a great game and we were able to mix it up enough to keep them off balance."
Bowman (2-0) struck out the side in the third inning, fanned two batters in the first, fourth and seventh and added one punchout in the fifth.
He set a Binghamton season high while matching the career best he delivered in Class A Advanced St. Lucie's 4-3 loss to Dunedin last May 20. In that outing, he allowed two runs on six hits over seven innings and did not factor in the decision.
Selected by the Mets in the 13th round of the 2012 Draft out of Princeton University, Bowman had never faced this Fisher Cats team before, but he did make notes when the Mets took three of four games in New Hampshire last week. The four-game set began the day after Bowman faced Erie, so while he had watched them play, they had never seen him live.
"We'd just came from New Hampshire, and whenever we face anybody new, I make my own scouting report in my book," said Bowman, who retired 15 in a row at one point. "I note their aggressiveness and the holes in their swing and then I balance that against the strengths I have and how I can go after them.
"Definitely the pitcher has the advantage because I got to see them play and make notes on them. I hit a little bit in college so I understand the concept of seeing a pitcher for the first time. You can't replace in-game experience."
Bowman's biggest test came in the seventh. Brad Glenn worked a one-out walk and Andy Burns reached on an infield single. But Bowman struck out Gabe Jacobo for the second out and benefited when Glenn was thrown out at home trying to score from second on Yusuf Carter's infield single to shortstop Wilfredo Tovar.
"This has to be one of the best [outings] I assume," Bowman said. "I'm obviously at a level I've never pitched at before, so hopefully an outing like this will convince me I belong here. As a starting pitcher, you want a low ERA and high strikeouts with a good strikeout-to-walk ratio. In general, the job of a starting pitcher is to go as deep as possible. It's preferable to give up four runs over eight innings than one run over five.
"I make sure I don't look at my own stats. If you're doing well, you might get complacent. If you're doing poor, it doesn't change anything because you still want to put up zeros."
John Church struck out two batters over a perfect eighth and Chase Bradford allowed a run on two hits in the ninth to seal the win. Darrell Ceciliani was 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored atop the B-Mets lineup, Matt Clark finished with two RBIs and Matt Reynolds was 3-for-4 with a run scored.
New Hampshire starter Scott Copeland (0-3) yielded three runs -- one earned -- on four hits and a walk while striking out two batters over 1 2/3 innings.