The University of Virginia baseball program made history with its first national title, the first baseball championship for the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1955. In the deciding game of the best-of-three finals, the Cavaliers defeated Vanderbilt, 4-2.
In April and May, the championship moment seemed far-fetched. The Virginia Cavaliers had a combined record of 18-18 in those two months. Not until the last week of the regular season did they qualify to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. But they got on a roll and responded with their backs to the wall on multiple occasions.
Nathan Kirby, a junior from Midlothian, struck out Vanderbilt pinch-hitter Kyle Smith to lock up the national title.
“I think the thing that was really gratifying to me was knowing that we were playing not only for the guys on the team, the coaching staff and the fans, but for everyone that’s walked between the lines before us,” said Kirby.
On the heels of the men’s tennis title, it was the third national championship this season for Cavalier Athletics. Last fall, the UVa men’s soccer team won it all. Only once before in ACC history has that happened: Maryland in the 2005-06 athletic year