OMAHA, Neb. – An 8th inning home run by John Norwood helped Vanderbilt make history on Wednesday evening, as the Commodores defeated Virginia, 3-2, in Game Three of the 2014 Men’s College World Series Finals, claiming its first NCAA National Championship in baseball.
The 2-1 series victory gives the Commodores their second NCAA championship in any sport (Vanderbilt also won an NCAA title in women’s bowling in 2007).
Tied 2-2 in the eighth, Norwood broke the stalemate when he drove a 1-0 pitch over the left field fence for a go-ahead solo blast. It was the Commodores’ first home run of the CWS, and Norwood’s third home run of the season.
Norwood acted as a catalyst all evening for Vanderbilt, going 3-for-3 with a home run, two runs scored, a walk and an RBI.
Pitcher Carson Fulmer started the game for the Commodores, tossing 5.1 innings with two runs allowed (one earned) and five strikeouts. Freshman Hayden Stone (4-0) earned the win, throwing 1.2 innings with just two hits allowed, striking out four.
Adam Ravenelle entered in the eighth, pitching out of a bases loaded jam and throwing a perfect ninth to earn his third save of the year, all of which have come in Omaha.
For the second consecutive game, Vanderbilt took an early lead, scoring a run in the top of the first thanks to a Virginia throwing error.
With Dansby Swanson and Bryan Reynolds on second and first, respectively, the Commodores put in action a double steal, and as the throw to second sailed into center field, Swanson rounded third and scampered home.
In the sixth, Vanderbilt scratched another run across, taking a 2-0 lead in the title game. With one out, Norwood reached on an infield single and took second on a throwing error, then moved to third on Zander Wiel’s groundout. Conde picked up the RBI with an infield single to push Norwood across.
Virginia rallied in the sixth to tie the game, scoring two runs on two hits, one walk, one hit batter and a fielding error.
Robbie Coman started the inning with a single and transitioned to second on Branden Cogswell’s groundout. Daniel Pinero drove a 3-1 pitch into right center, scoring Coman to cut the lead to one.
After Pinero stole second and Mike Papi walked, Fulmer was replaced by Stone on the hill. Joe McCarthy was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and with two outs, Kenny Towns reached safely on an error by the shortstop, allowing Pinero to score.
Virginia nearly tied the game in the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases with one out, but two fielder’s choices helped Ravenelle pitch out of the jam and keep the Cavaliers at bay.
Ravenelle needed just 12 pitches to retire the side, striking out Cogswell and Pinero to end it before the Vanderbilt team dogpiled near the mound.
It was Vanderbilt’s second all-time appearance at the CWS, with the first one coming in 2011 under head coach Tim Corbin. It was the 10th Men’s College World Series title for the Southeastern Conference.
Virginia finishes the season at 53-15 overall and made the school’s third trip all-time at CWS, all of which have come under head coach Brian O’Connor.
10 student-athletes playing in the CWS Finals were named to the All-Tournament Team, highlighted by Vanderbilt’s Dansby Swanson, who earned the John D. Diesing Sr. Award as the event’s Most Outstanding Player.