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Ups and downs for ex-FHS Vol trio
Delmonico, Cobb, Brown part of UT baseball rollercoaster as 2006 season nears its mid-point

Flying around the bases with excitement after your first college home run one day, then twice getting robbed on base hits plus an error at shortstop the next. Tony Delmonico is learning the ups and downs of being an 18-year old freshman playing major college baseball at the University of Tennessee.

“That’s baseball for ‘yah. It does eat at ‘yah, but you’ve got to flush it,” said the former Farragut High School All-state honoree, who’s batting .286 while starting each of the Vols’ 24 games at shortstop alongside fellow freshman and ex-Admiral Cody Brown at third base. “You keep hitting it hard and it’ll fall for you one day.”

As for his home run, Delmonico said he was “kinda excited, everyone could see it, I was running around the bases pretty fast.”

The home run was a second-inning solo blast to help beat Kentucky 7-6 Friday, March 24, in the opening game of a three-game set at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.

Being robbed on two sharply hit balls by the UK defense the next day, Delmonico’s error was part of a Wildcat five-run ninth-inning in a 6-1 Kentucky win.

The ending wasted eight innings of one-run work for UT starter and former All-state Admiral Craig Cobb, as the junior used his change up and fastball to sit down 19 of 21 Wildcats at one stretch before coming apart in the ninth.

Emphasizing he wasn’t tired in the ninth, “I felt Iike I could have gone seven more innings,” Cobb said, adding that UK’s pair of two-run homers were both hit on change ups “on the outer part of the plate. I’d been feeding them change-ups all day.”

Cobb, who lost his first game (4-1) while seeing his earned run average rise to 2.42, said he values the advice he received as a freshman from a former coach.

“Just have one good inning nine times,” said Cobb, who has recorded 31 strikeout and just seven walks in 44.2 innings of work (16 games). “That made a lot of sense to me, I just keep that approach. ... It’s much easier to manage.”

Mostly working middle relief, Cobb started just his second game of the season.

Brown’s adjustments to major college pitching have come to the tune of a .321 batting average with two home runs and 10 RBIs in 16 games, 15 starting at third base.

“All I’m trying to do is put the ball in play and make sure I use the [right] side of the field,” Brown said. “Every approach I have is to try and hit it that way. I’m pretty happy with myself that I’ve stayed with that.”

Overcoming a preseason wrist injury that kept him out a few games, “It’s a hundred percent, it’s fine,” Brown said. “It’s been great to be able to play and have Tony [next to him at shortstop].”

Brown said his biggest “growing pain” as a freshman is “playing defense,” committing seven errors in 46 chances (.848 percentage).

“I still get butterflies every time you go out, but it’s just good to play.”


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