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Brown shines for Vols despite injury; Powell battling

A calf muscle strain left Cody Brown on crutches just a day before Alabama rolled into Lindsey Nelson Stadium to play the Tennessee baseball Vols last Friday, April 11.

The former Farragut Admirals All-state infielder and UT junior third baseman got a break from the weather — a Friday rain-out — then toughed out his injury rather well Saturday.

Brown went 4-of-8 at the plate, including a solo home run and RBI double, as the Vols and Crimson Tide split a doubleheader.

Tennessee head coach Todd Raleigh said Brown gave “unbelievable effort. Cody, that’s how he is. I didn’t think he was going to play. He was on crutches two days ago. He’s got a lot of heart.”

Brown, now hitting .287 on the season (four home runs, 21 RBI), said the injury was “just one of those things, you’ve got to step up and try and be big. … It was tough playing defense, but I knew I could swing it.”

Brown said he’s been “real sore” since injuring his calf muscle in a Sunday, April 6, loss to Florida. “It’s hard to keep playing all game.” Defensively, Brown took a grounder and cut down a runner at the plate in game two Saturday, a 13-5 Vols win.

Now a junior and co-captain, Brown’s role as clean-up [No. 4 in batting order] or No. 5 signals a greater responsibility to get on base and drive in runs. “That’s just one of those roles I want to take on,” Brown said.

Meanwhile, another ex-Admiral standout is looking to find his place in the Vol bullpen.

Bryan Powell, sophomore lefthander, started off well in an eighth-inning relief appearance in game two Saturday.

Powell struck out the first Tide hitter, then was ahead 0-2 on the next batter before giving up a solo home run. Things went south from there for Powell. About the home run pitch, “It was a fastball inside,” Powell said. “Stuff like that happens in baseball.”

Despite a high earned run average in 4.2 innings of relief work (six appearances) this season, Powell has a 2-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. And Saturday’s home run was the first extra-base hit the sophomore has allowed this season.

Powell, now with a submarine or below-the-belt delivery, said he was advised to change from an over-the-top, “three-quarters” delivery by UT pitching coach Fred Corral. “Coach Corral has helped me learn how to throw a lot of different pitches down there,” Powell said. “It’s a tough transition, but it’s getting better.”

Winning two of three games from Bama, the Vols took a 22-13 overall record into this week while holding a 9-6 SEC mark.


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