BY JEFF FALK
Derek Fisher matriculated to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville for the purpose of – among other things – winning an NCAA Division One baseball national championship. Fisher and his Cavalier mates came as close to their goal as one could come without reaching it.
On Wednesday in Omaha, Nebraska, in the final and decisive game of the College World Series, Fisher’s Virginia club fell to Vanderbilt 3-2. It was the Commodores’ initial baseball national championship, and their first in any male sport.
After Virginia had tied the game at two, John Norwood smashed a solo homer in the top of the eighth inning to give Vandy a 3-2 lead, and it would prove to be the decisive run. Virginia loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the eighth, but could not score.
Fisher, a 2011 graduate of Cedar Crest High School, went 0-for-3 in the championship tilt as Virginia’s leftfielder. Fisher moved Cavalier teammates to second and third with a sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the eighth inning.
In the sixth, Fisher had struck out with the bases loaded.
Fisher went two-for-12 during Virginia’s three-game championship series with Vanderbilt, and was a combined three-for-26 throughout the entire College World Series in Omaha. Fisher completed his junior season, which was marred by a broken bone in his right wrist, with a .260 batting average.
Vanderbilt assumed a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. But Virginia erased its 2-1 deficit with a run in the bottom of the sixth.
Three weeks earlier, Fisher had been selected by the Houston Astros in the second round of the Major League Baseball draft, with the 37th overall selection. Fisher is expected to forgo his remaining year of eligibility at Virginia to join the Astros minor-league farm system.