Virginia Claims First CWS With 4-2 Win in Game Three Over Vanderbilt

by Editor Rick Cabral

Freshman Pavin Smith knocked in three runs, including a game-tying two-run homer and starter Brandon Waddell toughened after a rocky first inning, to lead Virginia to a 4-2 win over Vanderbilt and its first-ever College World Series.

For the Cavaliers, the win was especially sweet, as they watched Vanderbilt celebrate a 2014 CWS championship on this same field at TD Ameritrade Park. In the process, Virginia is the first Atlantic Coast Conference team to claim the trophy since Wake Forest did it in 1955.

This game epitomized the 2015 College World Series, with solid pitching, great defense and timely hitting by the unlikely hero, Smith.

Unlike the previous two contests, which saw both teams shut out through the first five innings, there was immediate action in this Winner-Take-All Game Three.

Virgina’s first two batters both singled off Vanderbilt starter Walker Buehler. With one out, he pitched around Smith to load the bases, then fanned senior Kenny Towns.

He got the next hitter to fly out to center field to deny the Cavaliers a score, and cast a veil of doubt early on Virginia’s dugout.

That veil grew larger when the Commodores then scored twice in their half of the first inning.

Virigina left-hander Brandon Waddell issued a leadoff pass to Bryan Reynolds, who went to third on Rhett Wiseman’s double to the left field wall. Dansby Swanson, the first player taken in the 2015 MLB Draft, hit a high chopper to third base, scoring Reynolds on the fielder’s choice.

Cleanup hitter Xander Weil whacked a double down the third base line, scoring Wiseman to give Vanderbilt a 2-0 advantage.

Vanderbilt struck again in their half of the fourth, but Virginia flashed incredible defense to negate another score. Waddell threw out Jeren Kendall on a well-placed bunt down the first-base line with Smith snagging the ball on a hop at first base.

After designated hitter Penn Murfee doubled, Smith caught a fly ball over his shoulder in foul territory. Murfee tagged and reached third base. Towns then trapped a rocket by Tyler Campbell behind the third base bag, got up and fired a perfect throw to first to end the inning.

Smith's game-tying home run in the fourth inning charged his teammates. Then in the fifth, the tall redhead put Virginia ahead 3-2 with a single to left field, notching his third RBI of the game.

The Cavaliers added an insurance run in the seventh inning when Towns smoked a breaking ball into centerfield, driving in Haseley for a 4-2 lead. It was Towns’ 7th RBI of the CWS.

Meanwhile, Waddell was lights out, retiring 11 in a row as he continued to shut out the vaunted Vanderbilt offense from the second through the seventh innings.

Nathan Kirby, who started and won a game earlier in this CWS, came on in relief in the bottom of the eighth. All he did was strike out Reynolds, Swanson and Weil.

Kirby, a first-round draft selection, gave up a two-out single in the ninth inning to Murfee, but fanned the final batter to close out the victory and send the ‘Hoos to their first-ever dogpile at the College World Series.

“This is incredible what (our players) have accomplished. Fortunately, we were able to piece it together,” O’Connor told ESPN with great emotion and his players celebrating on the field. “Vanderbilt is all class. Great opponent. We just feel fortunate to come away with this championship.

Virginia's 44 wins were the fewest by a national champion since the  USC Trojans posted 43 victories in 1968. The Cavaliers almost didn't get into the NCAA Regionals after a 1-3 showing in the ACC tournament.

But now they've earned the right to display the 2015 Championship in their trophy case.

Josh Sborz, who threw 13 innings, earned three wins and last night’s pivotal Game Two save, was selected the MVP of the CWS.

CWS Down to Winner-Take-All Third Game Tonight
Virginia Spins 3-0 Shutout Over Cavs--Hoos Hot Now?

UVA Media Relations Report

OMAHA, Neb. -- Virginia evened the College World Series Finals at a game apiece by blanking Vanderbilt 3-0 Tuesday night in front of 24,645 fans at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. The Cavaliers (43-24) forced a deciding Game 3 -- to be played at 8 p.m. Wednesday -- to determine the national champion. UVa is seeking its first national championship.

Adam Haseley and Josh Sborz combined on a seven-hit shutout, while the bottom of UVa’s batting order, Ernie Clement and Thomas Woodruff, recorded six of UVa’s 10 hits while driving in all three runs.

“We're excited that we have a chance to play again tomorrow night,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “Adam Haseley rose to the occasion on the mound and gave us just a high-quality start, and Josh Sborz did what he's been doing this entire tournament in grinding out the back half of the game and showed what he's made of. And then (Thomas Woodruff), I don't know when the last time he started a game was, but he put some great swings on the baseball and played some great right field. It was just a total team effort and I’m really proud that we have another chance to play and looking forward to tomorrow night.”

Making his first career NCAA tournament start and his first start since May 16 at North Carolina, Woodruff went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI. Clement also had three hits -- his most since April 11 at Georgia Tech. Both had run-scoring hits during a decisive three-run sixth inning.

In just his fifth start of the season and the first since May 24, Haseley worked a career-high five innings, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out one and holding the potent Vanderbilt offense scoreless. Haseley also led off and went 1-for-4 at the plate. He became the second starting pitcher to also hit leadoff at the CWS, joining Clemson's Bailey Hendley (June 15, 1958).

Sborz (7-2) worked the final four innings to earn his third win of the College World Series and has not allowed an earned run in his last 27 innings, including 13 frames at the 2015 CWS. He became the 11th player to earn three wins in a single CWS and now has four career CWS wins, which is tied for second in the event’s history. Sborz is the second player in history with three wins and a save in the same CWS, joining Southern California’s Russ McQueen (1972).

Vanderbilt starter Philip Pfeiffer (6-5) pitched 5.2 innings, allowing three unearned runs, eight hits and a walk while striking out six in taking the loss.

Vanderbilt (51-20) put the first two runners on base in the sixth inning. Rhett Wiseman singled to center and after Sborz entered the game, Dansby Swanson reached on an infield single. Sborz rebounded to get Zander Wiel to ground out before Bryan Reynolds hit a grounder to Daniel Pinero at shortstop, who stepped on second and fired to first for the a double play.

Virginia strung together four hits in the sixth inning -- all with two outs -- to score all of its runs and take its first lead of the finals series. Pavin Smith and Kevin Doherty hit back-to-back singles before Joe McCarthy reached on a fielding error by Wiel at first base to load the bases. Clement then singled through the left side of the infield to score Smith. Woodruff followed by stroking a single to center to bring Doherty and McCarthy home for a 3-0 lead.

Vanderbilt threatened with runners at second and third with two outs in the ninth inning before Sborz struck out Nolan Rogers to end the game.


Pro News

Agosta Tabbed Cal League Pitcher of the Week

San Francisco Giant farmhand Martin Agosta was selected Pitcher of the Week for the California League. Agosta, (Jesuit/ St. Mary’s College), who was taken in the 2nd Round of the 2012 draft, has pitched in both as a starter and reliever this year. According to Sam Dykstra of MiLB.com, although he’s performed better in relief, his start for San Jose Friday against Inland Empire might merit more opportunities to open in the future. Here his report:
Martin Agosta, San Jose

(1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 HBP, 1 BB, 9 K)
{ The 24-year-old right-hander's gem at home, during which he struck out a season-high nine, was his first scoreless start of the season and lowered his ERA from 6.36 to 5.53. Despite that high number, Agosta has still averaged 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings this season, and his 2.5 BB/9 rate is down precipitously from the 7.9 he put up for San Jose a season ago. His splits are better as a reliever this season (1.53 ERA, 1.19 WHIP vs. 7.50 and 1.46 as a starter), but the 6-foot-1 hurler likely earned himself a few more starts with his latest performance.



Fulmer Lights Out, Vandy Takes CWS Game One 5-1

By Mike Herndon, AL.com

Carson Fulmer brought his nasty stuff on Monday and Vanderbilt has a 1-0 lead in the College World Series final.

Fulmer, the No. 8 overall pick in this year's Major League Baseball draft, allowed only two hits in 7 2/3 scoreless innings and struck out seven and the defending national champs are now one win away from a repeat. 

In earning the win, Fulmer tied a school record for wins in a season with his 14th. 

Virginia starter Connor Jones matched Fulmer almost pitch for pitch until the sixth, when Will Toffey finally broke a scoreless tie with a two-run double to right. Jones ultimately took the loss, allowing four runs on seven hits and striking out six in 6 1/3 innings of work.

Dansby Swanson, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, and Bryan Reynolds had two hits and one RBI apiece for the Commodores.

The Commodores (51-19) and Cavaliers (42-24) meet again Tuesday at 7 p.m., with a third game set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, if necessary.


MLB Draft News 


(Sacramento State Media Relations contributed to this report) 

Sacramento State senior right-handed pitcher Ty Nichols has signed a free agent contract with the Tampa Bay Rays.  

As a senior Nichols put together arguably the greatest single season pitching performance not only in program history but also in WAC history. He was 6-0 with a 1.23 ERA in his senior season, shattering the single-season program record for ERA (min. 50 innings pitched) and ranking fifth in all of NCAA Div. I in ERA. 

Over his last 57 innings pitched Nichols allowed only five earned runs and just 29 hits, a 0.79 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, and .149 opposing batting average. For the season he also ranked 10th in the nation with just 5.60 hits allowed per nine innings and was 13th with a 0.90 WHIP. He also had a WAC-best .181 opposing batting average and earned First Team all-WAC honors. 

After four Hornets were selected in the Major League Baseball Draft last week Nichols becomes the fifth Sacramento State player to sign an MLB contract. The five MLB signees are the most the program has had in a season since 1993, when three players were drafted and three signed as free agents.  

Nathan Lukes, the career record holder for hits (244), this week penned his contract with the Cleveland Indians, who took him in the 7th Round. A two-time all-WAC first team selection, Lukes hit .345 in 2015 with 7 home runs and 38 RBIs.  

Brennan Leitao, taken by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 26th round, inked his deal yesterday. Leitao is Sacramento State's all-time leader with 31 career wins and 398.0 innings pitched. He is also third in program history with 226 career strikeouts and is the first player in program history to be a three-time all-WAC selection. He went 7-4 with a 2.20 ERA as a senior after being selected as a Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American. 

Also signed this week were junior closer Sutter McLoughlin, drafted by Philadelphia in the 22nd Round, and senior shortstop Scotty Burcham, taken in the 25th Round by Colorado. McLoughlin shattered the Sacramento State program record with 33 career saves and also recorded the lowest career ERA in program history at 1.93 (min. 100 innings pitched). An all-WAC second team selection as a senior, Burcham hit a career-best .329 with four homers and 33 RBIs in 2015, and finished his collegiate career second in program history with 235 career hits, topped only by Lukes.  

Last week, two UC Davis seniors inked their professional contracts. First baseman Nick Lynch was selected by Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 30th Round and catcher Izaak Silva, taken by the same club one round later, has done the same.



LSU's Lange, Bregman and Crew End Titan's Season With 5-3 Win

by Editor Rick Cabral

LSU freshman Alex Lange allowed Fullerton State three runs in the first, then shut down their offense, while junior Alex Bregman led a 13-hit Tigers attack en route to a 5-3 victory in this elimination game at the College World Series.

The Titans, who lost a heartbreaker yesterday to Vanderbilt, were in for a big challenge with the All-American Lange on the hill. But the 6’4” right-hander had control issues early and CSU Fullerton capitalized in the first inning.

Number three hitter David Olmedo-Barrera tripled in Tyler Stieb to give the Titans a 1-0 lead. With LSU’s infield drawn in, Jerrod Bravo (Ponderosa/ Sacramento City) singled past the shortstop Bregman, scoring Olmedo-Barrera.

After Tanner Pinkston singled, moving Bravo to third base, junior transfer Dalton Blaser (Roseville High/Sierra College) laid down a sweet safety squeeze along the first base line, scoring Bravo and giving Fullerton State an early 3-0 lead.

In the LSU third, Bregman sliced a single through the 5.5 hole to start a rally that saw the Tigers score four times on six singles. In the process, they knocked Titans’ starter Connor Seabold out of the game. Coach Rick Vanderhook replaced Seabold with former Rio Linda High star Miles Chambers, who corralled the Tigers through the next four innings. Chambers limited LSU to five hits and one earned run, coming in the seventh inning.

But the way Lange (12-0) pitched this afternoon, turns out the Tigers didn’t need the insurance run.

At one point, the freshman retired 14 of 15 hitters, using a dominating mid-90s fastball, electricfying 12-6 curveball and a changeup in striking out 10 while walking two batters. He allowed the Titans six hits in all, but just three more through the final eight shutout innings, en route to a complete game victory, his 12th of the season.

After the game LSU head coach Paul Maineri said he wasn't worried about Lange after the Titans scored three quick runs. "(Lange) has shown us all year that he is not going ever to throw in the towel. He's going to fight you right to the very end. And he's the ultimate competitor, besides having a lot of ability. I really wasn't worried about it."

The loss sends Cal State Fullerton (39-25)—winners of the Big West—home after two tough losses at the CWS.

In post game comments Vanderook summarized his team's efforts at the CWS this way: "We played two games here, and didn't lose once. We got beat twice," he said, giving credit to Vanderbilt and LSU. "And I can live with that."

Meantime, LSU (54-11)—which was ranked first in the nation for much of the season—will face the loser of tonight’s game between TCU and Vanderbilt on Thursday.






High School



For decades, Sacramento has been a hotbed of tremendous baseball talent. A few of the homegrown locals performing in the Major Leagues at present from the greater Sacramento area* include J.P. Howell, Dustin Pedroia, Manny Parra, Andrew Susac, and many more.

Among the hundreds of former professional players who have hailed from around here (and this is not an exhaustive list) include: Dusty Baker, Larry Bowa, Ken and Bob Forsch, Stan Hack, Woody Held, David Hernandez, Derrek Lee, Joe Marty, Butch Metzger, Steve Sax, Greg Vaughn, Fernando Vina and many others.

Numerous MLB managers have come out of Sacramento, including:
Dusty Baker (SF Giants, Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds) Larry Bowa (San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies) Jerry Manuel (Chicago White Sox and New York Mets) Buck Martinez (Toronto Blue Jays) John McNamara (6 teams).

Many top-name big league players barnstormed through Sacramento from the teens through the early '60s. Among the barnstormers, none were bigger than Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, who performed as the Bustin' Babes and Larrupin Lous here in Sacramento in 1927 (you can read more about that tour at ThePitchBook.com).

After runnin' the bases here, if you would like to submit material that you believe should be included at BaseballSacramento.com, please send an email to
RAC (at) baseballsacramento (dot) com.

Also be sure to check out the All-Time Top 50 Players from Sacramento in the History section.


Rick Cabral

* The "greater Sacramento baseball area" extends west to Woodland, north to Yuba City, east to Grass Valley and south to the San Joaquin County line.

Updated 6/24/15
All contents © Rick Cabral, 2010-2015



Shop for Baseball Jerseys, Collectibles and Accessories at the MLB.com Shop!