With their backs against the wall in an elimination game, the UVA baseball team showed resiliency as they bounced back from a 9-8 loss Monday night to even up the College World Series championship by securing a 7-2 victory Tuesday in Omaha.
After sophomore ace Nathan Kirby uncharacteristically got rocked for eight runs in a single inning in game one on Monday, fellow sophomore Brandon Waddell responded the next night by pitching all nine innings and only allowing five hits and two runs. “Brandon Waddell was just terrific,” coach Brian O’Connor said during a postgame press conference. “It seemed that after the first four innings, he really settled in, did a terrific job of mixing all of his pitches and keeping their hitters off balance. And certainly we had another really good offensive night.”
Through the first two games of the championship round, UVA has outscored Vanderbilt 15-11 and has 31 hits, while the Commodores have 11. Nine of Vanderbilt’s 11 total runs came in the third inning of game one. The 17 combined runs of game one set a record for most runs in a College World Series contest played at TD Ameritrade Park, an unexpected record for the two finalists who have relied this season on their strong pitching.
Despite the Cavaliers’ clear statistical advantages outside of the third inning of game one, the series remains knotted at 1-1, and Wednesday’s game at 8pm will determine the 2014 NCAA baseball national champion as the Cavaliers hope to attain their first baseball championship in program history.