JONESBORO, Ark. (5/5/12) - Junior starter Daniel Wright threw seven solid innings to lead the Arkansas State Red Wolves to a Sun Belt Conference series-clinching 6-1 victory over the South Alabama Jaguars Saturday afternoon at Tomlinson Stadium and Kell Field.
Wright (2-4) gave up one run on five hits, struck out four, walked just two and retired 13 of the final 15 batters he faced to pick up the win, giving the Red Wolves their first series victory over the Jaguars since the 2009 season. South Alabama came into the series hitting a league-best .326 in conference games, but the Red Wolves out-hit the Jaguars 9-6, with Wright and relievers Brandon Farley and John Koch holding USA to a .207 average.
The win, coupled with the Red Wolves' 8-1 victory in Friday's series opener, also gave ASU eight weekend series victories on the season against just one loss.
With the win, ASU improved to 25-19 overall and 14-7 in Sun Belt Conference action. Arkansas State remains alone in second place in the league standings, two games behind league-leader Florida Atlantic, which improved to 16-5 over the weekend with a pair of victories over Western Kentucky. South Alabama dropped to 18-29 overall and 12-11 in SBC action with the loss.
"Obviously, we got a quality start from Daniel Wright, and that was big," said ASU head coach Tommy Raffo. "Daniel was able to throw pitches when he wanted and that is a credit to him. South Alabama is a very good hitting club, they put balls in play all day, and we were able to play catch and really help him out."
Arkansas State set the tone early when left fielder Logan Uxa slugged a two-out, two-run home run that traveled over the right field scoreboard in the first inning. South Alabama answered with its lone run in the second, scoring on a sacrifice fly from shortstop Graham Odom. ASU matched the effort in the bottom of the inning when second baseman Zach Maggio, who went 2-for-5 with an RBI to lead the Red Wolves offensively, drove in a run with a groundout to first to put A-State on top 3-1 after two.
Arkansas State scored its remaining three runs in the fourth, getting an RBI single from center fielder Michael Faulkner and a two-run double from first baseman Zach George to take a 6-1 lead into the fifth. From there, Wright, Farley and Koch allowed just four more baserunners on the afternoon to wrap up the win.
Starter Jarron Cito (6-4) took the loss on the mound for South Alabama, giving up six runs on six hits in 4.1 innings of work. Cito walked eight batters and struck out two. Catcher Drew Cofield went 3-for-4 to lead the Jags at the plate.
Arkansas State will try for the series sweep when the two teams meet Sunday at 1:00 p.m.