Aaron Westlake knew an inside fastball was coming in the bottom of the ninth. And he knew he'd get a face full of shaving cream afterwards too.
The fastball, he crushed. The shaving cream? Well, teammate Anthony Gomez got him anyway.
Westlake belted an 0-1 pitch from Grant Dayton into the right field bleachers to give the Commodores a 3-2, walk-off victory over Auburn and take the weekend series.
"That's what they'd been coming with the whole game at me, and I was struggling getting the bathead through the first three at-bats, Westlake said. "I figured I might as well just swing hard and see what happens and that's what I did."
While being interviewed afterwards by ESPNU, Gomez snuck behind Westlake and pied him.
"He got me," Westlake said, laughing.
Westlake got the Commodores a much-needed series win in another game where they struggled to make something happen on offense, getting just six hits. It also got the slugger some much-needed confidence.
The SEC's leading hitter last season, Westlake was slumping going into the weekend series and entered the ninth with just two hits in his last 18 at-bats.
That's well behind him now after his sixth homer of the season, and the first walk-off home run of his college career. Westlake pumped his fists as he rounded the bases and was mobbed at the plate by his teammates, as Vanderbilt improved to 8-7 in conference play and won their second conference series of the season.
"It was a big hit," said Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin. "The kids are pressing, and he's one of them that's really pressing. You can tell that the ping pong balls are going back and forth between ears in his head. That was big for his psyche and big for our team."
Westlake admitted he had been putting some pressure on himself to do even better than last year's breakout campaign, when he batted a scorching .377. Coming into Sunday, he was at just .286.
"Coming off last season, I had high expectations," Westlake said. "It's baseball, you're supposed to go out there and have fun. That's what I did the last at-bat. It's just one of those things where you flush everything, do what you used to do in the backyard. See the ball and hit the ball."
Corbin moved him down in the line-up from third to fifth, not as a punitive measure, and it appeared to work well.
"Aaron's really tough on himself so you've got to be careful that way," Corbin said. "He works extra, extra hard, so he may beat himself on the head with a hammer more than you would want, so I never get after him. I was hoping it would relax him and just get him into the game where he didn't think we had to rely on him so heavily."
They could use his bat in the coming weeks, especially with a tough slate of road SEC series on tap. For the moment, though, the self-critical slugger could enjoy a big hit and a bigger win.