There’s nothing like winning the final game of the season. Tonight the Virginia Cavaliers did something that hadn’t been done in the ACC since 1955. Win the College World Series.
After being held scoreless in game two of the series on Tuesday night, the Vanderbilt Commodores wasted no time in cracking the scoreboard. After Walker Buehler was able to tight-rope out of danger in the top half of the inning, Dansby Swanson gave Vandy a 1-0 lead on a ground out to third that scored Bryan Reynolds. Following Swanson was Zander Wiel who doubled down the left field line to score Rhett Wiseman and double the lead.
That would be all that the Commodores would get off of Cavs starter Brandon Waddell. The fifth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates went seven innings and gave up four hits with just the two runs. Unlike the first two nights for Virginia, the offense was able to crack the scoreboard early off of Buehler. In the fourth, freshman Pavin Smith evened up the score at 2-2 with a two-run homer just beyond the right field fence. One hitter later, Buehler’s night would be finished as he only pitched three innings and gave up two runs on just three hits with four walks. The Cavaliers would add single runs in the fifth and seventh innings to take a 4-2 lead going into the ninth inning against Nathan Kirby.
Nathan Kirby pitched the final two innings for Virginia in the win giving up no runs and allowing one walk while striking out five. Leading the charge at the plate for the Cavaliers was Smith (2-3) who had a homer and 3 RBI in the game. At the top of the lineup, Adam Haseley went 2-3 with two runs scored and two walks in the contest. Haseley started game two on the mound for the Cavaliers and pitched five innings giving up no runs.
For Vanderbilt, junior Rhett Wiseman went 2-3 with a run scored in the loss. The Vanderbilt bullpen was asked to throw five innings. Commodore relievers gave up two runs on five hits, but struck-out only one. The loss is charged to John Kilichowski who came in relief of Buehler in the fourth inning. The sophomore gave up one run without giving up a hit, but did allow one walk.
With the win, Virginia does something very rare. Win the College World Series as a three seed. The last three seed to win the CWS was Oregon State in the second year of their back-to-back championships in 2007. The last time a lower seeded team won the CWS was in 2008 when Fresno State beat the Georgia Bulldogs as a four seed. This is Virginia’s first ever baseball national championship and the first for the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1955 when Wake Forest took home the crown.
WP: Brandon Waddell (5-5)
LP: John Kilichowski (3-4)
Save: Nathan Kirby