Hitting only .135 with just seven hits on the year, Tanner Allen (Mississippi State) is not the likeliest of late game heroes in a contest with major playoff implications. But Monday night Allen proved to be the difference in the Big Train’s 3-1 win over the Loudon Riverdogs
“It’s pretty awesome,” Allen said. “Hard work pays off.”
On a 1-1 pitch in the bottom of the seventh, Allen blasted his first home run of the season over the right-center fence, putting the Big Train ahead for goodt.
“I was actually sitting on fastball. Allen said. “He threw me a cutter and I was able to find some barrel on it and then the rest is history.”
Luke Heyer (Kentucky) continued his red-hot tear over the past two weeks with a solo-home run in the fourth, extending his hit streak to seven. Offensive catalyst James Outman (Sacramento State) added an insurance run with a sac-fly in the bottom of the eighth.
On the bump starter Tyler Smith (East Carolina) turned in another solid outing and proved he could be the crucial third starter for the Big Train entering the playoffs. The sophomore gave up only three hits while striking out four in five innings of work.
“He’s going to do a lot for us down the stretch,” manager Sal Colangelo said. “His confidence, he’s a great pitcher, comes from a great school, great coaches and I look for big things his last start coming up.”
A.J. Jones (State College of Florida) was also stellar on the mound, pitching three innings of two-hit ball, while Jordan Sergent (High Point) earned the save.
The Big Train now turn their attention to the Alexandria Aces, who currently sit one game back in the South Division. If Bethesda wins Wednesday night in Alexandria, they will clinch the division crown.
“We’re going to show up, throw strikes, let the big bats swing and hopefully put together a good team win again,” Allen said.
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