"Wayne Taylor started the ninth inning with a single and I thought our chances looked really good after getting our leadoff hitter on base. And then B-Mike [Brett Michael Doran], who obviously has had tons of sacrifice bunts through the year [his 23 are the second most in the NCAA this season], I was pretty confident he would be able to get it down and get the tying run [pinch runner Drew Jackson] on second base.
Standing in the on-deck circle, I was thinking, ‘Just try to get a base knock somewhere and hit it through a hole or slap it through the infield somewhere to get the tying run in.’ I ended up getting an inside pitch and was able to turn on it.
I was looking to be aggressive because I knew he [Effross] would want to try and get ahead. He didn’t want to get behind with the tying run on second base. I was able to get a good pitch to hit and the rest is kind of a blur.
I don’t really remember running around the bases. I watched the replay and rounded first base and I was looking at the ball and saw the umpire signal home run and I turned around and thought, ‘Did that just really happen?’ I was totally in shock. I just had no idea that was ever going to happen. A home run? I did not expect that at all.
Then I remember running to home plate and everyone jumping up and down. It was awesome and a really cool feeling. I was definitely thinking I don’t want to miss home plate. That would be the worst way to lose, so I made sure I touched home. I didn’t want to jump up and injure myself. It was awesome getting mobbed and realizing we were moving on to the next round.
It definitely took a second to sink in that we had won. Sometime when I was running around the bases I realized we had just won. It was kind of weird because they were the visiting team, so you never really hit a walk-off at someone else’s field.
Afterward, it was unbelievable. Our fans were going crazy. We got back to the hotel and celebrated in the lobby a little bit. I didn’t go to bed until pretty late. It was pretty hard to sleep; I was just thinking about it all night. I finally got to sleep about 2:30 a.m.
I got a good amount of texts and some followers on Instagram and some friend requests from Facebook that I just had no idea who the people were. It was a really cool feeling seeing people knew that I had a big hit.
We woke up at 7:15 a.m. the next morning for the bus and were right back at it early. The whole day was pretty hectic and all travel, although it was pretty cool to fly home private.
We got back to campus around 6:30 p.m. and it was super cool when I got back to my dorm. One of my R.A.’s had posted a Facebook page that I hit a walk-off home run, and everyone was there congratulating me.
I had to go finish a problem set for my math class and go turn it in. I didn’t get to really celebrate that much; I was just doing my homework because we were leaving again [Wednesday] for Nashville. I have to stay on top of my schoolwork because we have finals coming up. I was exhausted, so I slept really well.
A bunch of my friends back home had seen the home run or saw it on SportsCenter. It was like the No. 3 play of the night, and they were like, ‘Wait a second, is that Tommy?’ So I got some texts from that. It was fun hearing from all my buddies back home, and obviously from here, too.
It’s starting to sink in. I don’t think it totally will until after the season has been over for a while, when I’ll look back and think, ‘Wow, that was really crazy.’
Earlier this year against Oregon, I hit a walk-off sacrifice fly, but that wasn’t nearly the same. There were no outs and the bases were loaded, so I was kind of expected to get the game-winning hit. But I never had anything like this before; it tops all my baseball experiences. I hit some home runs in high school, but it was my first-ever as a lefty. It was a good time to start showing some power from the left side.
I think we’re really jelling as a team. It’s taken all of us and everyone has contributed. I think we’re in really good shape going to Vanderbilt and are pretty hot right now. I know Vandy is a real good team and we had a tough series against them earlier in the year. But I think we are a totally different team now and we’re excited for the series."