Only a throwing error stood between Jonathan Bowlan and perfection Monday night.
Kansas City's No. 29 prospect struck out nine, did not walk a batter and worked around the second-inning miscue to make history as Class A Advanced Wilmington blanked Carolina, 3-0, at Frawley Stadium. It was the Carolina League's first no-hitter this season and the 18th in the Minor Leagues.
Gameday box score
"Before the game in the bullpen, I was just focused on staying on top of the ball," Bowlan said. "I was in the details, in my thoughts. ... Honestly, it was another day. I was focused on competing to the best of my abilities."
The fifth start after the 2018 second-round pick was promoted from Class A Lexington on June 23, it also marked the longest outing of Bowlan's career. The 22-year-old's nine strikeouts tied his career high for a single game in whiffs. He has posted an 0.71 WHIP through 34 innings in the Carolina League.
The lone blemish came with two outs in the second when Wes Rogers reached on a throwing error by third baseman Dennicher Carrasco. But Bowlan struck out Pat McInerney on a 3-2 pitch to end the frame.
Wilmington took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the inning off right-hander Christian Taugner (4-6). Second-ranked Royals prospect Nick Pratto doubled and scored on a base hit to center by No. 27 Sebastian Rivero, and Cristian Perez crossed the plate on a double-play grounder by Kyle Kasser.
2019 Minor League milestones
"I was focused on breathing," Bowlan admitted. "After the sixth inning, it really hit me. The nerves got to me. ... No one said a word. I was thinking about mentioning [the no-hitter], but I just decided to stay focused.
"With nine outs left, when I went back to the bump, I was focused on one pitch at a time, one out at a time."
The Blue Rocks tacked on an insurance run in the seventh when Kasser greeted righty reliever Matt Hardy with a single into right that plated Perez.
Bowlan (4-1) chalked up at least one whiff in seven of nine frames, including two in the first and eighth innings. Milwaukee's second-ranked prospect Brice Turang went down swinging three times, including the last at-bat of the game.
"Of course, after nine innings, I was tired, fatigued," Bowlan admitted. "At the end, after the strikeout, it was pure excitement. I had to express myself, I had to let it out."
The 98-pitch gem was the third no-hitter in Blue Rocks history. The first was a combined effort by Jose Rosado and Pat Flurry against Winston-Salem on May 15, 1995, and the most recent was twirled by Brian Sanches against Lynchburg on May 2, 2000.
2019 MiLB include
But the right-hander's feat fell that error short of an effort by his father for Memphis State University on May 3, 1987. As a sophomore, Mark Bowlan shut down Louisville, 13-0, in the program's only perfect game.
The 6-foot-6, 262-pound hurler also attended Memphis and etched his name in the record books, racking up 18 strikeouts last April 28 against South Florida to set school and American Athletic Conference marks.
Bowlan hadn't talked to any members of his family at game's end. Chaos was the overwhelming dynamic in the clubhouse.
Three minutes later, the man who made history Monday stopped mid-sentence. "Can you hold on for a minute? It's my dad on the other line."