Jonathan Bowlan (left) followed in the footsteps of his father Mark Bowlan (Memphis Athletics)

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Bowlan Joins Dad In Record Book

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You can’t be better than perfect, but Memphis 6-foot-6, 255-pound righthander Jonathan Bowlan is testing that theory.

Bowlan’s story – which is as much about his heart as it is his arm — begins before he was even born.

On May 3, 1987, Memphis Tigers sophomore righthander Mark Bowlan — Jonathan’s father — threw a one-hitter and followed that up, in his next start, with what still stands as the only perfect game in program history, beating Louisville 13-0.

Last month, on April 28 to be exact, Memphis upset host South Florida 8-2 as Jonathan Bowlan set a school and American Athletic Conference record with 18 strikeouts, the most in Division I this season.

All 18 strikeouts were swinging in a 128-pitch masterpiece.

“Father and son sharing the record book is something I will never forget,” Jonathan said. “My dad has always pushed me to be just as good or better than him.”

Bowlan, though, said his biggest inspiration isn’t necessarily his father.

It’s his sister, 24-year-old Emily, who was born deaf and with Down syndrome. Emily is an athlete, too, competing in Special Olympics basketball and bowling, but she still finds the time to attend nearly all of her brother’s games.

Jonathan Bowlan’s sister Emily poses with family at a Memphis game (Photo courtesy of the Bowlan family)

“All growing up, she’s been a big supporter of mine,” said Bowlan, 21, who has attended many of Emily’s games as well. “When she doesn’t make a game, she gets upset.

“I want to prove to her that she has set an example for me. She’s been a big motivation for me. I see what God has blessed me with, and I see her situation, and she is happy every day. Even if I have a bad outing, she’s the first one to run up and greet me with happiness.”


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