Tanner Allen (Mississippi State) went 3-for-4 with an RBI in his best offensive game of the season.
Watch Walk-Off Home Run here: https://twitter.com/GoBigTrain/status/888217112216563713
Leading off the bottom of the ninth of a 6-6 game, Vinny Esposito (Sacramento State) watched the ninth pitch of his at-bat sail beyond the scoreboard in left-center field.
“I was just trying to battle, since I had two strikes,” Esposito said. “I was looking for something over the dish to hit, and I got it.”
But, rounding the bases as Thursday night’s hero, he might not even have been the happiest Esposito on the field – that honor belongs to his father, Pat.
The elder Esposito, visiting from California, threw batting practice before the game and served as an assistant coach. He was just happy to be spending some time with his son.
“It was fun being in the dugout with him,” Mr. Esposito said. “I don’t see him all summer, and I just listen on the radio. To be out here today, it made my whole vacation.”
To say he was excited to see his son hit a walk-off homer is an understatement.
“When he hit it, I was just yelling,” Mr. Esposito said. “I’ve seen a few of his home runs, and it’s fun to be there and watch him do that. It’s great to see him go under other people’s wings and learn a lot about baseball.”
The game-ending shot followed a dramatic three-hour contest. The Big Train put up five runs through the first seven innings on defensive errors and on RBI hits from Esposito and Zach Jancarski (Maryland).
The bottom of the eighth took a heated turn that resulted in manager Sal Colangelo’s first ejection of the season. With a runner on first and no outs, Jacob Koos (Stetson) laid down a sacrifice bunt that the pitcher airmailed over the first baseman’s head. The ball sailed into right field, which put the runners on second and third. The umpires, however, ruled that Koos interfered with the first baseman and called him out, then sent Justin Morris (Maryland) back to first.
“Sal is a competitor,” assistant coach and acting manager Eric Williams said about Colangelo’s ejection. “He doesn’t like wrong calls; he likes fighting for the team.”
Tanner Allen (Mississippi State), who struggled and did not play regularly this season, made the most of his starting spot, going 3-for-4 and hit a huge game-tying double in that wild eighth inning.
“It’s awesome to come out here today, with no pressure on me, and just get after it,” Allen said. “I had a good night.”
Although the Big Train had already won the South Division on Wednesday, the competitive spirit they displayed on Thursday is a testament to their never-quit attitude.
“We’re not going to go out there and lay down,” Vinny Esposito said. “We’re going to go out there and play the game hard like we’ve been doing all season.”
The Big Train close out the regular season on Friday with a contest against the Braves. Come out to celebrate another successful season of summer collegiate baseball in Bethesda on Fan Appreciation Night!