Auburn, Ala.--Counted on to provide a spark to Auburn’s starting rotation this season as a true freshman, Davis Daniel has hit the ground running for the Tigers since arriving on campus in the fall. Now just a week away from taking the mound as one of Auburn’s starters in the season-opening weekend against George Washington, Daniel said he and the team are ready for the challenge.
“It’s exciting,” the 6-1, 179 Daniel said. “We’ve got a lot of work ahead leading up to the opening weekend. Everybody is keeping their head straight and we’ll see how it all plays out.
“I think the whole team is ready to get going,” he added. “It’s going to be here before we know it. Everybody is ready to go.”
A powerful right-hander that was a 34th round selection by the Chicago Cubs after going 11-1 as a senior with an ERA of just 0.70 at St. James, Daniel is a player that Coach Butch Thompson has seen make strides in the preseason and that included his last time out.
Getting through the first inning in only six pitches, Thompson ran into some trouble in the second with a pair of walks, but recovered to get out of the jam. That led to a strong final inning for him, something his coach believes was a step forward for him as he gets ready for the season.
“I see great stuff and a competitive fastball,” Thompson said. “It’s really tough to start in any league, especially the SEC, if you do not possess a survivable fastball. I think he’s shown that. I don’t want it to go perfect for him, but I don’t want him to fail either.
“He got off to a good start and I thought he worked through the challenges of a second inning and then was pretty strong in the third. I think he’s right on task, right on point.”
This weekend Daniel will have final tune-up to prepare for his first start at Plainsman Park. Making the jump from high school to the best conference in America has been a big step for Daniel but he said it has taught him to trust his stuff and do his thing.
“Facing SEC hitters is a little different than high school,” Daniel said. “It’s a big transition for everybody. I feel like I have settled in pretty well and started to throw a lot more strikes. I’m letting my stuff do its thing.”