In a rematch of last year’s College World Series, the Virginia Cavaliers got their payback Wednesday, as they defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores 4-2 to capture the school’s first-ever NCAA baseball title.
Pavin Smith homered and registered three RBIs to lead Virginia’s offense. Starting pitcher Brandon Waddell (5-5) threw seven innings, overcoming a two-run opening frame to toss a near-perfect final six innings, allowing just two hits and sitting down the final 11 Vanderbilt batters he faced. Nathan Kirby closed things out, striking out five in the final two frames to clinch the title for the Cavs.
The journey back to the final series has been anything but easy for Virginia, as they had to sweep the North Carolina Tar Heels at the end of the regular season just to make the ACC tournament. There, Virginia used an 11-0 win against Georgia Tech in the play-in game to secure a spot in the NCAA tournament. The Cavs defeated USC, San Diego State, Maryland, Arkansas, and Florida en route to setting up their rematch with Vanderbilt.
In the best-of-three title series, the Commodores took Game 1 with a commanding 5-1 victory; Virginia fought back to force a winner-take-all Game 3 with a 3-0 win in the second game of the series.
The Cavaliers became the first ACC team to capture the title since Wake Forest accomplished the feat in 1955. Speaking of conference accomplishments: