Dayton Dragons infielder Seth Mejias-Brean had never hit a grand slam at any level of baseball — not high school, not college, not pro ball.
Until the bottom of the ninth inning Thursday when, with one out and his team trailing by three runs, he drove a fastball from Beloit’s Nolan Sanburn over the fence. The walk-off slam, second in team history, gave the Dragons a 7-6 win.
The Dragons came to bat in the ninth down 6-3 after Beloit had scored three in the top half.
“We were definitely feeling down,” said Mejias-Brean, an eighth-round draft pick in 2012. “I’m not going to lie, it was a bad inning, especially when you came into it tied.
“I was just trying to keep the inning alive, maybe get a pop fly and score a run.”
Instead, the former University of Arizona standout provided perhaps the most dramatic finish in franchise history.
Outfielders John Wooten and Dayton Alexander leaped against the wall, but the ball was ricocheting off the safety fance by the time Mejias-Brean was headed toward second. He then sprinted home as teammates poured out of the dugout in celebratory frenzy. Jesse Winker dunked him with a half-full jug of Gatorade, and he got an embrace from Sammy Diaz.
The only other walk-off slam in Dragons history was hit by Samone Peters on June 10, 2001, also against Beloit. That one came with one out and the score tied. The last Dragons walk-off homer had been hit by Donald Lutz on Aug. 30, 2011, a solo shot in the 10th.
Mejias-Brean finished 3-for-5 with six RBIs. In his last eight games he is hitting .471, and since May 12 he is batting .332. For the season he is hitting .287 with four home runs and 58 RBIs — not bad after starting the year hitting below .200.
“It’s just confidence,” Dayton manager Jose Nieves said. “The amount of RBIs he has had lately has been incredible.”
Two-sport star arrives: Amir Garrett, a 6-foot-5 left-handed starting pitcher, was promoted from Billings to Dayton on Friday. Garrett was a 22nd-round pick in 2011 and had a $1 million signing bonus. He was a standout basketball player at St. John’s and Cal-State Northridge before deciding on a baseball career.
He’s armed with a fastball that has reached 97 miles per hour as well as a healthy dose of potential.
“He has all the tools to be a major-league pitcher,” Nieves said. “He’s a huge add for us. He likes to be out there and face down a challenge and he has a lot of energy.”
Garrett will make his first start today at 7 p.m. when Dayton plays Wisconsin. He will share innings with Jackson Stephens.
Also called up was Joe Housey, a reliever who played in seven games with Dayton earlier this season.
Wisconsin at Dayton, 7 p.m.
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