Tournament Gives Red Wolves a Clean Slate

It is time to start over with a clean slate. And for the Arkansas State Red Wolves baseball team that is a good thing. "The season is over and we are all 0-0 now,'' said ASU coach Tommy Raffo

A season of injuries, tough luck, a strong conference and stronger schedule have left the Red Wolves with a 26-29 record going into Wednesday's Sun Belt Conference tournament opener.

ASU is scheduled to meet Troy at 12:30 p.m. today in Lafayette, the opening round.

The Red Wolves are on the same side of the bracket as Western Kentucky and Florida Atlantic and will meet the winner/loser of that contest on Thursday depending upon ASU's outcome.

Troy, a team that defeated ASU two of three times in their recent SBC series, won the regular season title and had owned ASU by a 23-5 advantage in the series history. Since Tommy Raffo has taken over the program, the Red Wolves have fared better, trailing just 14-5. ASU's lone win this year was 15-14 in the season finale two weeks ago.

The last two seasons the Red Wolves have performed well in the tourney, reaching the title game last year where they lost to UL-Monroe 4-2. ASU has gone 4-2 the past two seasons in pool play, but the tournament is switching to the double-elimination format this year.

Senior right-hander Daniel Wright, a first-team All-conference selection, will start vs. Troy. In his last two outings he threw nine shutout innings in a 1-0 loss to Troy 1-0 and beat UALR 3-2. For the season he is 6-4 on the season with a 3.17 ERA (fourth in the SBC) and 93 strikeouts (second in the league).

Wright has gone at least seven innings in last eight outings and eight quality starts leads the Red Wolves' sta?.

Troy (39-16) will start freshman left-hander Levi Tate. The Trojans won a share of the SBC regular-season title, ?nishing in a tie with South Alabama, a game-ahead of Florida Atlantic and host Ul-L. They average 7.5 runs per game and lead the nation in doubles with 138.Their .470 slugging percentage is the sixth best in the nation and ranks seventh in the nation scoring entering the game.