CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Brian O'Connor's Virginia team came up short in its first trip to the College World Series finals, losing 3-2 to Vanderbilt in the decisive game. The Cavaliers' coach is determined to not let the loss define his players or their season.
Virginia lost when closer Nick Howard allowed a home run to John Norwood in the eighth inning that proved the difference. The Cavaliers loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the inning, but failed to score.
"It's tough when you end the season with a loss," O'Connor told about 1,000 fans who turned out Thursday at Davenport Field for a welcome home party. "Somebody has to do it."
The crowd showed no signs of the disappointment evident among some of the players. The fans delighted in watching a video of season highlights and cheered loudest for some of the most disappointed Cavaliers.
"There's still a lot of heartache," O'Connor said afterward. "This one's going to hurt for a while and it should because when you work so hard and have the opportunity in front of you and it doesn't work for you, you can't just accept it."
Senior pitcher Artie Lewicki, one of the stars of the Cavaliers' CWS run with 13 scoreless innings in four appearances, allowed just one unearned run in six innings of relief in the final game after replacing Josh Sborz in the second inning.
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