Virginia's Pavin Smith (Aaron Fitt)


GSA Spotlight: UVa.’s Pavin Smith


No matter what else happened in his career, Pavin Smith secured his Virginia legacy in the final game of his freshman year.

That game happened to be the winner-takes-the-title third game of the 2015 CWS Finals against Vanderbilt. The Commodores had beaten the favored Cavs for the championship the year before, and this time around Virginia was a heavy underdog. But after squeaking into the NCAA tournament as a No. 3 seed, UVa. simply refused to lose. A core of battle-tested warriors in the upper classes carried plenty of the load, but a couple precocious freshmen had a very big role to play, too.

One of them was Adam Haseley, the two-way talent who helped keep UVa. alive with five scoreless innings in the middle game of the Finals, then reached base safely in all four at-bats of the rubber game. The other was Smith, who turned around that last game with a game-tying two-run homer in the fourth, then put Virginia ahead for good with an RBI single an inning later.

It was an incredible pinnacle at the end of freshman All-America campaigns for Smith and Haseley, but it was just the beginning of their impact in Charlottesville. They have gone on to become two of the most accomplished and celebrated players in program history. Both players have managed to get even better each year, and now both are poised to be drafted in the top half of the first round.

They’ve been so good for so long, and they go about their business with such quiet professionalism that it’s easy to take Smith and Haseley for granted. But that would be a mistake.

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