Alison Owen has been waiting a long time to get back into the circle.
The Mississippi State redshirt junior has made quite an impact so far in 2013 for the Bulldog softball team.
It was proved to be true for Owen again last weekend and she got attention for it on Monday.
Owen was selected as the Southeastern Conference Softball Co-Pitcher of the Week.
She is the ninth MSU pitcher in school history and the second Bulldog in the last seven seasons to win the honor.
Owen was 2-0 for the weekend in the Blues City Classic in Memphis, Tenn. She struck out 31 batters in the two starts.
"We have really been focusing as a pitching staff on pitch by pitch," Owen told reporters on Monday. "We have all been working on our spins and location. I wouldn't be able to do that without the animal (defense) behind me and Sam (Lenahan) and Logan (Folks) doing a great job behind the plate."
Owen set the school record for a single game with 15 strikeouts against Wichita State in a 4-0 victory on Saturday. She broke the record again on Sunday with 16 Ks in a 1-0 win over SIU-Edwardsville.
"She's in command of her stuff right now," MSU head coach Vann Stuedeman said.
Owen transferred from Georgia and had to sit out the 2012 season. During that time, she honed her game and has become one of the Bulldogs best pitchers.
"Vann really is the best pitching coach in the country because as soon as I got here, I just felt comfortable," Owen said. "(During) the year sitting out, I was pitching to batters constantly. I was always throwing to people. During the season, they kind of rode that on because I didn't have to pitch the games, so I pitched to batters all the time."
In softball, programs can build their program around one pitcher. Owen could be that pitcher for Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs have plenty of pitchers in seniors Kylie Vry and Stephanie Becker.
"We knew that when she said yes, it was a big yes to Mississippi State," Stuedeman said. "With the help of our whole staff, she can make a huge impact. It's a long grind, it's a long season and we are playing in the major league of a conference. She will need some help. I'm really, really excited about this staff and Alison.
She has been fun to coach."
For Owen, it's all about one pitch and one inning at a time. She does not have the mindset of trying to set a school record every time she takes the circle.
"I don't really think of the game as a whole," Owen said. "I just kind of go inning by inning, (and) pitch by pitch. It's fun striking people out, but I know that we have a defense that has my back. The energy and the enthusiasm of the game was just awesome."
Owen and the Bulldogs are back in action this weekend when they travel to Kissimmee, Fla., to take part in the D9 Citrus Classic. They will play a doubleheader on Friday against Hofstra and Maryland at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., respectively.
MSU plays LIU-Brooklyn, Fordham and Syracuse on Saturday and Sunday.
"The other pitchers have done a great job," Owen said. "We all just bring different things to the table. (We have) lefties, (and) righties. We all have different spins, we all have different mentalities and we all just (are) able to go out and do it as a staff."
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