Vanderbilt University has claimed its first College World Series. And the school’s first-ever NCAA national championship in a men’s team sport.
Carson Fulmer held the opposing Virginia Cavaliers to two runs — one earned — over 5 1/3 innings and center fielder John Norwood slugged a go-ahead solo homer off UVA reliever Nick Howard as Vandy won Tuesday’s Game 3 in Omaha by a score of 3-2.
Howard was the Reds’ first-round pick in the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft — at 29th overall — and had been dominant this season as Virginia’s primary closer. But Norwood turned on a 97 mph fastball on the inside corner in the bottom of the eighth inning to put the Commodores ahead for good.
“He’s got a powerful fastball … I just threw my hands at it and tried to find the sweet spot,” Norwood told ESPN sideline reporter Jessica Mendoza after the game. “It’s unbelievable … I can’t believe it.”
Vanderbilt lost Game 2 to Virginia on Tuesday after winning Game 1, but they bounced back in impressive fashion and were the team forming a dogpile on the TD Ameritrade Park field Wednesday night.
Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz was childhood friends with Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, so it was expected when Diaz took time away from the team on Monday to visit Fernandez’s family in Miami. They grew up on the same street in Cuba and played for the same youth baseball team and both would ultimately wind up playing Major League Baseball in the United States.
In the bottom of the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Reds, Diaz hit a 2-1 Robert Stephenson fastball out to left-center field for a no-doubt grand slam. Teammate Yadier Molina gave Diaz a tight hug as he crossed home plate.
Before Tuesday’s game, Diaz said that the best way to honor Fernandez was to play with his passion, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. Diaz said, “I only play for [Fernandez’s] family right now.”
Here’s the video.
The Red Sox would have clinched the AL East if one of two things happened on Tuesday night: the Red Sox themselves beat the Yankees, or the Orioles defeated the Blue Jays. Neither happened.
The Jays soundly took down the Orioles 5-1 behind six strong innings from Aaron Sanchez. Josh Donaldson went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run and a pair of walks and leadoff batter Ezequiel Carrera went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, an RBI single, a walk, and three runs scored.
Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees outlasted the Red Sox for a 6-4 win, responding to both two-run innings the Sox had in the sixth and seventh with a run in the sixth and two in the seventh. Gary Sanchez hit his 20th homer of the season. Didi Gregorius and Tyler Austin also contributed dingers. Starter Luis Cessa pitched well, limiting the Sox to two runs over six innings on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Red Sox starter David Price struggled, yielding six runs in 6 1/3 innings. Yankees reliever Tyler Clippard got into trouble in the ninth inning but was able to wiggle out of trouble to finish out the game.
Once again, the Red Sox will be able to clinch the AL East on Wednesday with a win over the Yankees or a Blue Jays loss to the Orioles.