OMAHA, Neb. (WRIC) — The Virginia Cavaliers defeated defending national champion Vanderbilt 4-2 Wednesday night to capture the first national championship in the baseball program’s history. The national championship victory is also the first by an ACC team since Wake Forest in 1955.
Freshman Pavin Smith (Jupiter, Fla.) was the hero of the night. In the top of the fourth with the Cavaliers trailing 2-0, Smith smacked a two-run home run over the right field wall to tie the game. The very next inning, Smith followed up with an RBI single to give Virginia a 3-2 lead.
The Wahoos also have senior starting pitcher Brandon Waddell (Houston, Tex.) to thank for the win. Pitching on three days’ rest when five is customary, Waddell allowed just two runs in seven innings before giving way to Midlothian native Nathan Kirby (James River High School) for the final six outs.
Kirby allowed one base runner each in the bottom of the eighth and ninth innings but nailed down his first career save to get the win. He then stood as the celebratory centerpiece for the Virginia dogpile after the final out.