OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The offense has been there for Virginia in the College World Series finals. The pitching is back now, too.
With the Cavaliers' season on the line, Brandon Waddell pitched a five-hit complete game in a 7-2 victory over Vanderbilt on Tuesday night that forced a decisive Game 3.
The teams meet Wednesday night at TD Ameritrade Park, where the winner will earn its school's first national championship in baseball.
Projected starting pitchers are Josh Sborz (6-4) for Virginia against Carson Fulmer (7-1).
Waddell's first nine-inning complete game came a night after Nathan Kirby imploded in Vanderbilt's nine-run third inning in a 9-8 loss to the Commodores on Monday. Waddell seemed to get better as the game went on, with the fourth inning a turning point.
Vanderbilt (50-21) held a 2-1 lead and had a chance to add to it with John Norwood on second base. But Rhett Wiseman couldn't get a bunt down to move him over, and he struck out looking. Waddell then picked off Norwood at second.
"The pick play was put on, and we just executed," Waddell said. "It was a huge momentum swing. They go from a guy in scoring position to nobody on. So I think it was something that was definitely big for us."
Virginia coach Brian O'Connor said his Cavaliers (53-15) responded like he thought they would after Monday's loss.
"I know the bounce-back this team has shown all year long," O'Connor said. "You know when you go through a season with a team, you start to learn and understand what they're made of and what the fiber of a team is. I told the team after the game last night that there is no panic in this ballclub. Come out tonight and play a great ball game, and we'd have a chance to win."
Waddell (10-3), who pitched a solid seven innings with no decision against TCU a week ago, was even better against the Commodores. He walked three and struck out five.
"He basically suffocated our offense for most of the night," Vandy coach Tim Corbin said.
The sophomore left-hander didn't allow a hit after Norwood's double until the ninth inning. He retired 12 in a row before he issued a walk with two outs in the ninth.