Vanderbilt foils Virginia 3-2 in College World Series, winning title

OMAHA, Neb. John Norwood hit a tiebreaking solo home run in the eighth inning, and Vanderbilt defeated Virginia 3-2 in the third and deciding game of the College World Series championship series Wednesday night.

Vanderbilt (51-21) won its first NCAA baseball title in only its second CWS appearance, and it won the school's first NCAA title in any men's sport.

With one out in the top of the eighth, Norwood, the Commodores' cleanup hitter and center fielder, lined a 1-0 high fastball from Virginia closer Nick Howard down the left-field line and into the Virginia bullpen before 18,344 fans at TD Ameritrade Park.

It was Norwood's third home run this season, only the third home run hit in this year's CWS, and the first home run by a Vanderbilt player since May 16, when first baseman Zander Wiel homered against South Carolina.

Virginia (53-16) loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the eighth, but Vanderbilt reliever Adam Ravenelle got out of the jam with two ground-ball fielder's choices -- one to him and one to shortstop.

Ravenelle pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his third save, striking out the final two batters swinging to set off a dog-pile celebration at the mound.

Commodores freshman Hayden Stone, who pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of starter Carson Fulmer, earned the victory.

Virginia forced a 2-2 tie with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Shortstop Daniel Pinero singled to drive in catcher Robbie Coman, and Pinero later scored on a bases-loaded, two-out fielding error by shortstop Vince Conde on Kenny Towns' hard-hit grounder.

Vanderbilt led 1-0 after five innings. Commodores second baseman Dansby Swanson, who led off the game with a single, scored the run on an error.

Swanson was at second base when Vanderbilt attempted a double steal, and he came home when Coman's throw sailed into center field.

Commodores Left fielder Brian Reynolds, who was at first base, tried advancing to third on the play, but he was thrown out. That was a big lift for Cavaliers starting pitcher Josh Sborz, who then allowed a walk and a single.

Sborz got out of the jam with a strikeout, but he threw 26 pitches in the inning and didn't return. He was replaced in the second by Artie Lewicki, who thrown seven innings of shutout relief over three CWS appearances. Lewicki held Vanderbilt scoreless over the next four innings before surrendering an unearned run in the sixth.

Fulmer pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks. He struck out five.

Notes:

Vanderbilt stole two bases in the first inning Wednesday night to increase its CWS total to 17, tying the record set by Oklahoma State in 1955. The Commodores stole their bases over seven games, while the Cowboys needed only five games to set the mark. ...

Virginia leadoff hitter Branden Cogswell was batting a team-best .500 (9-for-18) with five walks in five CWS games before Wednesday. ...

In the seventh inning, Coman laid down the 36th sacrifice bunt of this year's CWS, breaking the aluminum-bat-era record that was set in 2011.