Virginia loses 3-2 to Vandy in championship game

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 26, 2014 at 12:20 am •  Published: June 26, 2014

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Virginia's run at a national championship came down to one inning.

After Vanderbilt's John Norwood hit a tie-breaking homer in the top of the eighth, the Cavaliers loaded the bases with one out in the bottom half.

They couldn't score against Vandy's Adam Ravenelle and went on to lose 3-2 in the third and deciding game of the College World Series finals on Wednesday night.

"An outstanding final series between the two of us," Virginia coach Brian O'Connor said. "Unfortunately in sports, somebody's going to come out on the wrong end, and we came out on the wrong end tonight. The University of Virginia baseball program will be back here in Omaha at some point, and maybe the next time we can win it all."

Norwood turned on Nick Howard's 97 mph fastball and sent it into the left field bullpen to break a 2-2 tie. Then Hayden Stone and Ravenelle closed it out.

It was Norwood's third homer of the year, his first since April 19, and Vanderbilt's first since May 16. It also was only the third home run in 16 CWS games and the 22nd in 72 games by the Commodores (51-21).

"You've got to credit John Norwood," O'Connor said. "The pitch was up in the zone and he took an aggressive swing and hit the ball out."

The Cavaliers (53-16) loaded the bases with one out in the eighth when Ravenelle hit Kenny Towns. But Mike Papi was forced out at home on a chopper to Ravenelle, and Brandon Downes grounded out.

"I think it's human nature as a player or as a coach to reflect back and look at what could have happened," O'Connor said. "But if we did that all the time, I think we'd drive ourselves crazy. We had opportunities, and it just didn't happen for us."

The title, secured when Ravenelle struck out Daniel Pinero, is Vanderbilt's first in a men's sport. The school's only other title came in women's bowling in 2007.

Vandy second baseman Dansby Swanson was chosen the CWS Most Outstanding Player. Swanson batted .323 in the CWS, scored five runs, drove in two and stole three bases. He played flawlessly in the field.