For the first time in school history, the Vanderbilt Commodores are the College World Series champions. They used a late-inning home run to beat Virginia by the score of 3-2 on Wednesday night. Both teams were playing for their first ever title. Vanderbilt won the best of three series two games to one.
Outfielder John Norwood took Virginia closer and Reds first round pick Nick Howard deep in the eighth inning for a solo home run to break the 2-2 tie. It was only the third homer hit in the 16 games at Omaha's spacious TD Ameritrade Park during this year's College World Series tournament.
"I thought it was gone, but you never know in this park," said Norwood to the Associated Press. "I was just hoping it went out, and if it didn't, I knew my teammates would pick me up. It's a home run, but it's also a team effort to get here. We were confident the whole entire year."
The Cavaliers loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, but Vanderbilt ace reliever Adam Ravenelle escaped the jam with a 1-2 putout and a ground out to short. He retired to side in order in the ninth for the title-clinching save.
"An outstanding final series between the two of us," said Virginia coach Brian O'Connor. "Unfortunately in sports, somebody's going to come out on the wrong end, and we came out on the wrong end tonight. The University of Virginia baseball program will be back here in Omaha at some point, and maybe the next time we can win it all."
Vanderbilt sophomore second baseman Dansby Swanson was named the College World Series Most Outstanding Player. He hit .323 with five runs scored, two runs driven in and three stolen bases in seven games.