OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A night after one of Virginia's worst pitching starts of the season, the Cavaliers got one of their best to force a winner-take-all game for the national championship.
Brandon Waddell limited Vanderbilt to five hits in his first nine-inning complete game, Virginia knocked out first-round draft pick Tyler Beede in the seventh, and the Cavaliers evened the College World Series finals with a 7-2 victory Tuesday night.
Each team will be playing for its first national title in baseball on Wednesday night.
"I know the bounce back this team has shown all year long," Cavaliers coach Brian 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 ballgame, and we'd have a chance to win."
Virginia (53-15) forced the third game after Vanderbilt (50-21) rode a nine-run third inning against Nathan Kirby to a 9-8 victory Monday. Projected starting pitchers are Josh Sborz (6-4) for Virginia against Carson Fulmer (7-1).
Waddell (10-3), who pitched a solid seven innings with no decision against TCU a week ago, was even better against the Commodores.
"He basically suffocated our offense for most of the night," Vandy coach Tim Corbin said.
The sophomore left-hander didn't allow a hit in the fifth through eighth innings and retired 12 in a row before he issued a walk with two outs in the ninth.
"I didn't know how long I'd be in the game," Waddell said. "I tried to keep going until they told me to stop."
Waddell didn't stop until he threw 115 pitches and Rhett Wiseman had grounded out to end the game. Teammates rushed out of the dugout to congratulate him for his first conventional complete game. He was credited with one for going six innings in a rain-shortened game against Monmouth in March, and it was the Virginia staff's third of the season.
"I felt good from the start," Waddell said. "I felt in the beginning I was trying to do too much, put too much behind the ball, spraying it here and there. I settled in later in the game. I put the pitches where I needed to."