UVa. Cavaliers clinch College World Series championship with victory over Vandy
The University of Virginia Cavaliers clinched the College World Series championship on Wednesday, with a 4-2 win over Vanderbilt. The win is the first-ever baseball championship for the Cavaliers and the first for any school from the ACC since 1955.
Freshman Pavin Smith had three RBIs and starting pitcher Brandon Waddell held the Commodores to just two runs over seven innings. Former James River Standout Nathan Kirby pitched the final two innings, striking out five of the six batters he faced, to earn his first career save and lock up the title.
“Fortunately, we were able to piece it together,” said head coach Brian O’Connor of the improbable win. “Vanderbilt is a great opponent; all class and their kids are so talented. We just feel fortunate to come away with this championship.”
The Cavaliers lost in last year’s CWS title series to the Commodores, then had eight players taken in the MLB draft. This year, they lost over 140 games due to injury and had the fewest number of wins (45) of any national champion since 1968. None of that mattered to a team that became just the fourth in history to win a baseball title the year after losing in the final series.
“I was just out there competing for these guys,” said winning pitcher Waddell who finishes his UVA career a perfect 3-0 in the CWS. “They mean everything to me. Everything we’ve been through this season, it’s just awesome to get out there and just get this thing done.”
Reliever Josh Sborz was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player after not giving up an earned run in 19 innings of work. Teammates Ernie Clement, Kenny Towns, Daniel Pinero and Waddell were also named on the all-tournament team. This marks the 22nd national championship in any sport in UVA history, and the first time ever that Virginia has won three national titles in one school year following victories by men’s soccer and men’s tennis.
The college plans to hold a celebration for the national champs at 6 p.m. Thursday, at Davenport Field.