Virginia draws even in Omaha
Waddell throws complete game, Cavaliers produce 13 hits to force decisive game three
Sophomore left-hander Brandon Waddell had never pitched past the eighth inning before Virginia’s 7-2 win against Vanderbilt Tuesday night.
Waddell’s performance, coupled with Virginia’s 10 hits against Vanderbilt junior right-hander Tyler Beede — the 14th overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft — means that Virginia will return to TD Ameritrade Park Wednesday night at 8 p.m. for a chance to seize college baseball’s national championship.
By the end of game two, his line read 115 pitches, 75 strikes and a clutch complete-game victory. With the No. 3 Cavaliers backed against a wall in Omaha, Waddell delivered a series-leveling gem to bring the Cavaliers to much-needed victory.
The Houston native overpowered the Commodores by changing speeds and pounding the strike zone all night, holding opposition to just five hits, three walks and one earned run while striking out five.
Vanderbilt scored in the second inning when junior center fielder John Norwood walked, stole second, advanced to third on a single and came home, courtesy of junior designated hitter Chris Harvey’s liner.
Virginia answered an inning later with junior second baseman Branden Cogswell’s bunt down the first-base line, allowing junior center fielder Brandon Downes to tie the score at one.
The Commodores gained a 2-1 edge in the fourth. Redshirt sophomore first baseman Zander Wiel reached second on a Cavalier throwing error and crossed home plate on Norwood’s double.
From there, it was all Virginia.
The Cavaliers put up three runs in the sixth, partially facilitated by Downes’ RBI triple. An inning later, junior third baseman Kenny Towns helped Virginia increase its lead to 6-2 with his third hit of the evening. Sophomore designated hitter John La Prise added an RBI single in the ninth.
Waddell’s complete game kept the Virginia pitching staff mostly available for an all-hands-on-deck game three Wednesday to close out the championship series.