Yes, Vir­ginia wins it all

Smith’s hit­ting and Waddell’s pitch­ing lead Cava­liers in decisive CWS game.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - As­so­ci­ated press

Cava­liers rally to take the last two games against de­fend­ing cham­pion Van­der­bilt and cap­ture their f irst Col­lege World Se­ries ti­tle.

OMAHA — Pavin Smith hit a home run and drove in three runs, and Bran­don Waddell turned in another strong Col­lege World Se­ries pitch­ing per­for­mance, lead­ing Vir­ginia over Van­der­bilt, 4- 2, on Wed­nes­day night for the school’s first base­ball na­tional cham­pi­onship.

The Cava­liers ( 44- 24) pre­vailed in the CWS f in­als re­match against the de­fend­ing cham­pion Com­modores and won the At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence’s first ti­tle in base­ball since Wake For­est in 1955.

“This team was a crazy ride this year,” Coach Brian O’Con­nor said. “Cer­tainly we had a lot that went against us through the year, but this team found a way and got into the NCAA tour­na­ment. It’s an amaz­ing ex­am­ple of what you can do if you put your mind to it, play for each other and have each other’s backs.”

Van­der­bilt ( 51- 21) scored twice in the f irst in­ning but Waddell ( 5- 5) set­tled down and pitched seven in­nings. He re­tired the last 11 bat­ters he faced. It was his f ifth ca­reer CWS start, and Vir­ginia won each of them.

Nathan Kirby pitched the last two in­nings and struck out five of the eight bat­ters he faced for his first save.

“At this point, ev­ery­thing goes. If you’ve got any­thing in the tank, you’re giv­ing it,” Waddell said. “You’ve got noth­ing to save it for.”

Waddell was pitch­ing on three days’ rest af­ter work­ing the f irst f ive in­nings of the Cava­liers’ 5- 4 win over Florida on Satur­day. Be­fore that, he and Josh Sborz com­bined on a two- hit, 1- 0 vic­tory over the Ga­tors on June 16.

Sborz, who won three games and pitched 13 score­less in­nings, was se­lected the most out­stand­ing player of the CWS.

Smith stepped up for Vir­ginia af­ter be­ing one for eight and strik­ing out four times in the f irst two games of the three- game cham­pi­onship se­ries.

He hit a two- run home run against Walker Buehler to tie it in the fourth in­ning sin­gled in the go- ahead run in the f ifth against John Kili­chowski ( 3- 4) and played out­stand­ing de­fense at f irst base.

“This kid has done a great job of hit­ting in the mid­dle of our or­der all year long,” O’Con­nor said. “Him and I had a brief talk in the dugout be­fore the game and I just told him to re­lax and en­joy the mo­ment.”

Mike Theiler As­so­ci­ated Press

PAVIN SMITH of Vir­ginia runs the bases af­ter hit­ting a two- run home run in the fourth in­ning.

Ted Kirk As­so­ci­ated Press

VIR­GINIA CATCHER Matt Thaiss and re­liever Nathan Kirby celebrate win­ning na­tional ti­tle.

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