OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Virginia held Vanderbilt scoreless for all but one inning.
But boy, what an inning it was.
The Commodores capitalized on Virginia starter Nathan Kirby's sudden loss of control to score nine runs in the third, then held off the Cavaliers to win 9-8 in Game 1 of the College World Series finals Monday night.
"We're fortunate to win that game, for sure," Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin said. "No one could have scripted that particular game, and if anyone said they could, they're lying. I don't think you could have called a nine-run inning."
The Commodores (50-20) can win their first national championship in a men's sport with a win Tuesday night.
"It's nice to be up 1-0, but that's not where our mindset is right now," second baseman Dansby Swanson said. "It's the same game regardless. You have to go out there, play, compete and just play the tournament like we always talk about. We're not going out there thinking we've only got one more."
Virginia (52-15) came back after going down by seven runs, scoring three in the third, two in the fifth and another in the eighth. Had it not been for Vanderbilt reliever John Kilichowski getting a cleat on the ball to slow down and redirect a comebacker, saving a run in the eighth, the Cavaliers would have tied it.
"We didn't really want to fall back and pack it in," Branden Cogswell said. "We hadn't done it all year. This is the championship series, and there is no reason to do it now."
Jared Miller (7-2) got the win for two innings of relief of Walker Buehler. Adam Ravenelle came on in the ninth and earned his second save of the CWS.
Tyler Campbell continued his improbable breakout for the Commodores, doubling twice in the third inning. Campbell, who took over for third baseman Xavier Turner on Friday after he was ruled ineligible for an NCAA rules violation, put Vanderbilt up 9-2 with his second double, which came with the bases loaded.