Thwarted in Omaha
Norwood's homer sends Vanderbilt to College World Series crown
Virginia baseball lost a 3-2 heartbreaker to Vanderbilt Wednesday night at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, just shy of capturing the 2014 College World Series title.
The game turned in the eighth inning when Vanderbilt junior center fielder John Norwood launched the game-winning home run off Virginia junior closer Nick Howard. The Cavaliers twice came up empty with the bases loaded against Commodore junior closer Adam Ravenelle.
Norwood’s blast into the bullpen in left field came on a 97-mph fastball with one out and the score tied at two. Howard recovered to record two consecutive outs, but the run was all Vanderbilt needed to secure the win.
Virginia threatened in the bottom half of the inning — the Cavaliers loaded the bases with one out — but sophomore designated hitter John La Prise and junior center fielder Brandon Downes could not drive in junior first baseman Mike Papi from third.
No. 3 Virginia (53-16, 22-8 ACC) rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the sixth inning, when Vanderbilt junior right-hander Carson Fulmer surrendered singles to sophomore catcher Robbie Coman and freshman shortstop Daniel Pinero — the second a run-scoring hit.
After Fulmer walked Papi, Vanderbilt opted for freshman right-hander Hayden Stone out of the bullpen. Virginia scored its second run when Commodore junior shortstop Vince Conde mishandled junior third baseman Kenny Towns’ low line drive.
Virginia senior right-hander Artie Lewicki delivered six innings of one-run relief after sophomore right-hander Josh Sborz struggled to put away Vanderbilt (51-21, 17-13 SEC) in the first. Lewicki struck out five Commodores while yielding four hits and two walks.
The Cavaliers reached the College World Series Finals for the first time in program history. They were bidding to become the first ACC program to take home the national title since Wake Forest in 1955.
The win is Vanderbilt’s second NCAA title — the first was women’s bowling in 2007.