March 11, 2007
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Sophomore third baseman Cody Brown crushed a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning Sunday as the Tennessee baseball team overcame a seven-run deficit to defeat Siena 10-9 at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Brown's heroics completed the weekend sweep and helped the Volunteers improve to 11-7 on the year.
Vols shortstop Tony Delmonico led off the bottom of the ninth with a solo homer to left-centerfield that made the score 9-6. Catcher Yan Gomes and first baseman J.P. Arencibia then logged back-to-back singles before a Ryan Jones walk loaded the bases with no outs for Brown.
Leading in the count 2-0, Brown unleashed a towering blast that cleared the left-field bleachers, emptied the UT dugout and sent the crowd of 1,231 into a joyous frenzy.
Siena (0-12) led by a score of 8-1 after four and a half innings. Saints right-hander Andy Wells (0-3) took the loss after giving up five runs on six hits through two innings of relief.
True freshman right-hander Nick Hernandez made his first career start for the Vols Sunday. He started strong by striking out Siena's first two batters of the game, but Saints infielders Jake Willis and Rick Seltzer then recorded back-to-back doubles. Seltzer's two-bagger gave Siena an early one-run edge.
Hernandez found himself in a jam in the top of the third as Siena used a base on balls, an intentional walk and a hit-by-pitch to load the bases with one out. Saints right fielder Anthony Giansanti then singled to drive in a pair of runs, and center fielder Jason DeFilippo came through with an RBI single of his own to give Siena a 4-0 advantage entering the bottom of the frame.
A two-base throwing error by Seltzer in the bottom of the third allowed the Vols to cut into the Saints lead. After reaching on fielder's choice, Tennessee right fielder Andy Simunic started towards second base on a steal attempt. Seltzer's throw to second ended up in the outfield, enabling Simunic to score and reduce UT's deficit to three runs.
Siena fired back with an even more devastating blow in the fourth, however, totaling four runs on a pair of homers. Hernandez was chased from the hill after surrendering a solo homer to Saints shortstop Chris Klepps and allowing each of the next two batters to reach base. Tennessee sophomore Lance McClain was then summoned to the mound to face Seltzer, who unleashed a mammoth, three-run blast to deep right-center.
From that point forward, Tennessee began chipping away at Siena's 8-1 lead. The Vols got a solo from Gomes - his third of the season - in the bottom of the fourth. And Arencibia scored later in the inning on a sacrifice fly by outfielder Shawn Griffin. Arencibia had previously tripled off the wall in centerfield.
More errant throws by the Saints led to a pair of unearned runs for UT in the sixth. Arencibia crossed on a throwing error by Klepps, and Jones scored on a throwing error by Willis.
McClain left after four innings in which he was touched for two runs on four hits. Vols designated hitter Jeff Lockwood pulled double duty from that point on, and he ended up with his first career win. Lockwood allowed one hit while tossing the final 1 2/3 scoreless innings.
Brown's four RBIs tied a career-high. Tennessee's three homers on the day marked the first time this season that the Vols had multiple longballs in the same game. Delmonico's ninth-inning blast was his third of the year.
Arencibia finished the day 3-for-4 with three runs. Tennessee batters had just one strikeout between them on the day.
Tennessee's next action comes Wednesday at 3 p.m. when the Vols host Morehead State at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. The Vols were originally slated to play the Eagles in a pair of midweek contests on Tuesday and Wednesday, but Tuesday's game has been cancelled.
Wednesday's game marks the end of UT's current 17-game homestand and is the final tuneup for the Vols before they travel to Alabama March 16-18 to open the Southeastern Conference portion of the schedule.