JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Senior Daniel Wright will start the Arkansas State baseball teams Sun Belt Conference Tournament opening game against 1 seed Troy on Wednesday. For Wright, earning the title as this years staff ace was a process 3 years in the making.
The casual Red Wolves baseball fan might not even have known who Wright was before this season began, but to anyone who spent anytime at the ballpark the last two season, he was pretty hard to miss. Wright led the Red Wolves in appearances in 2011 and was near the top in 2012.
This season, Wright was 6-4 with a 3.17 ERA and 93 strikeouts, the best season of his career. With a little help from the offense, his win/loss record could have been more impressive. To back that claim up, Wright leads the Arkansas State staff with 8 quality starts despite losing 4 out of his 12 starts.
The dedicated A-State baseball fan might also have noticed something else about Wright's collegiate career. He was as solid as anyone during his time in Jonesboro, but he was in the back seat for nearly all of that time. Wright was in the shadow of Ace and eventually Cleveland Indians draft pick Jacob Lee. Wright was the number 2 weekend starter and posted solid numbers last season while picking up a big win in the Sun Belt Conference tournament last season to help get Arkansas State to the SBC title game.
No one will question Wright has been a crucial member of the Red Wolves team, but there is no doubt he was never considered the staff ace until this season.
Wright's numbers in previous seasons can't be labelled as ace quality, or even second on the staff behind Lee, but he was solid, he worked hard and he was always there when Lee was not on the hill.
Perhaps the most impressive part of Wright's career came this season. After the seasons in the back seat, he was needed, significantly, to lead the Red Wolves rotation once Lee graduated and fellow weekend starter last season Corey Kyle departed, Wright stepped up big to become the ace and to keep Arkansas State in contention for the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
The struggles of Tommy Raffo's club have been well documented this season, but one could make a case that if Wright hadn't stepped up to the spot light when he was needed most, the bus would have never left the parking lot of Tomlinson Stadium to make the trek to Lafayette.