Thursday, June 26, 2014

Vanderbilt Takes Home the 2014 College World Series

Vanderbilt Takes Home the 2014 College World Series

            After getting smoked by Virginia’s offense on Tuesday, June 24, 2014, The Vanderbilt Commodores came back to win the College World Series on Wednesday night, two games to one. This is Vanderbilt’s first College World Series win in school history, despite a notable number of baseball alumni including Sonny Gray, David Price, and Mark Prior. In the deciding game three, Vanderbilt starter Carson Fulmer came up big against the dominating Virginia offense, striking out five and giving up only one earned run in 5.1 innings pitched. While that may not sound impressive, doing so against a lineup featuring Mike Papi, Derek Fisher, Joe McCarthy, and John La Prise is really something to be impressed by. Pitcher Hayden Stone, also of Vanderbilt, pitched very well, striking out four Virginia batters in 1.2 innings pitched. Adam Ravenelle kept Virginia scoreless as he closed out the final two innings, allowing no earned runs.

This pitching performance by Vanderbilt has been the constant for the team all, season, being lead, ironically, by their inconsistent ace Tyler Beede. Beede pitched game two for the Commodores, giving up six earned runs in 6.2 innings pitched, striking out only four. The real pitching star of this College World Series also pitched that night, but for the Virginia Cavaliers. Brandon Waddell pitched a complete game in game two, striking out five and only allowing one earned run. This night was lead by hit after hit for the Virginia offense, producing thirteen hits total, including three by Kenny Towns and three by Joe McCarthy. Vanderbilt’s real MVP of the series, outfielder John Norwood, had two hits Tuesday, driving in one run, and scoring the other run himself. Outside of Norwood, it was all Virginia on Tuesday. Tuesday produced no home runs for either team.

Game one was an offensive nailbiter, as Vanderbilt edged Virginia nine to eight. Virginia’s ace, Nathan Kirby was roughed up by Vanderbilt’s offense, walking five and giving up five earned runs in only 2.1 innings pitched.  Vanderbilt starter Walker Buehler also disappointed in the first game of the College World Series, giving up five earned runs in three innings pitched. Vanderbilt batters only had six hits total on the day, but seven walks put enough runners on base to win the game. Only Tyler Campbell had more than one hit, two on the day. Virginia’s biggest threat on offense, Mike Papi went hitless for the day, also failing to draw a walk, despite messy pitching. Second baseman Daniel Pinero and shortstop Branden Cogswell both performed well, having three hits each, with Cogswell drawing one walk. Despite an offensive battle, game one featured no home runs either.

The hit that changed everything and sealed Vanderbilt’s fate as victors in the 2014 College World Series came in game three from John Norwood in the top of the eighth inning, as he homered off of Virginia reliever Nick Howard, giving Vanderbilt the go-ahead run, which would be the last run produced in game three. Norwood made up two of Vanderbilt’s three runs on the day, reaching second on an error, then scoring on a single by Vince Conde. Perhaps the box score does not indicate it as well, but game three will go down as an all-time classic in the books of college baseball, giving us nine innings of tension, followed by a feeling of celebration unless you were a Virginia Cavaliers fan, player, or coach.

Dansby Swanson, second baseman for the Vanderbilt Commodores, was named the College World Series Most Outstanding Player. Swanson had three hits and two walks against the Virginia Cavaliers. 

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