Virginia's record season came to and end just shy of a National Championship as the Wahoos were edged by Vanderbilt 3-2 in the final game of the College World Series Wednesday night at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. The win gives the Commodores their first title in program history.
Virginia finishes the season 53-16.
John Norwood's solo home run in the eighth inning off UVa closer Nick Howard broke a 2-2 tie and put the Commodores in the lead for good. It was the first run allowed by Howard in the NCAA Tournament.
Virginia had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the inning, but couldn't score the tying run.
Vanderbilt's Dansby Swanson hit the very first pitch of the ballgame through the left side of the infield and later came around to score on a throwing error on a double steal in an eventful first inning for sophomore right-handed starting pitcher Josh Sborz. Sborz allowed two hits and walked two more while striking out the final batter of the inning to escape with Virginia trailing 1-0.
Senior right-hander Artie Lewicki took over for Sborz in the second inning, keeping Vanderbilt off the scoreboard until a two-out single to short plated an unearned run in the top of the sixth inning, putting UVa in a 2-0 hole.
Virginia, who had managed just one hit off Vanderbilt starter Carson Fulmer through five innings, got the offense ignited in the bottom of the sixth with a leadoff single to right center by sophomore catcher Robbie Coman. Freshman shortstop Daniel Pinero then drove in Coman with another single to right center, cutting the gap to 2-1. Junior third baseman Kenny Towns, batting with the bases loaded with two outs, ripped a low liner at Vandy shortstop Vince Conde, who couldn't field it cleanly, with Pinero coming home to score the tying run on the error.
Norwood then untied the game with a low liner over the fence in left, just the third home run of the 2014 College World Series.
Fulmer pitched 5.1 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits, walking two while striking out five. Reliever Hayden Stone earned the win with 1.2 innings of scoreless relief, while Adam Ravenelle worked out of bases-loaded jam in the eighth to claim his third save.
Lewicki worked six innings, allowing an unearned run on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts. In his four CWS appearances, Lewicki pitched 13.0 innings without allowing an earned run.
In working the final two innings, Howard took the defeat and fell to 2-2 on the year.