OMAHA, Neb. – Vanderbilt center fielder John Norwood hit a one-out, solo home run in the eighth inning to break a 2-2 tie and give Vanderbilt its’ first national championship in a 3-2 win over Virginia in Game 3 of the 2014 College World Series Finals at TD Ameritrade Park on Wednesday. The junior was on base four times on the night and scored twice to lead the Commodores offense in the deciding game of the 2014 CWS Finals.
Norwood got his opportunity to win the game because of the gutsy pitching performances turned in by Vanderbilt’s pitching staff led by starter Carson Fulmer who allowed an earned run over 5.1 innings of work with five strike outs.
The Dores turned to closer Adam Revenelle who loaded the bases after a sac bunt by hitting Kenny Towns only to induce a pair of groundouts to end the scoring threat. The junior right-hander then got Virginia three-up, three-down to leave Papi standing on deck in the ninth to close out the win.
An interesting first inning led to Vanderbilt’s first score of the game as the Cavaliers’ starter Josh Sborz barely made it through the inning as he struggled to locate his fast ball. Dansby Swanson and Bryan Reynolds were on base to lead off the inning and a mis-fire by Virginia catcher Robbie Coman turned a double-steal of second and third into the games’ first run as Swanson scored after Coman’s throw sailed into center field for a 1-0 lead.
Virginia turned to Artie Lewicki in the second inning and he pitched well allowing only an unearned run over six innings of work with five strike outs.
In the sixth, John Norwood continued to press the Cavalier defense with his speed and athleticism as he reached on an infield single and advanced to second on Towns’ throwing error. The center fielder would reach third on a groundout before scoring as Vince Conde hit an infield single to deep short to extend the lead to 2-0.
The Cavaliers would battle back to tie the game in the home half of the sixth as Daniel Pinero singled home Coman, who led off the inning with a single to cut the lead to 2-1. Pinero would later score as Towns would reach on a rare fielding error by Conde to tie the game at 2-2.
However, a strikeout by John La Prise would leave the bases loaded and end the Cavs threat with the game still tied. Norwood would break the tie with his eighth inning homer off Virginia closer Nick Howard to give Vanderbilt the 3-2 win.
The title is the first men’s team title for the Commodores in any sport and continues the SEC’s dominance in national title games with representatives from the conference having appeared in seven straight finals and winning four. The ACC continues its drought without a representative winning a title since Wake Forest in 1955.