OMAHA, Neb. – Virginia and Vanderbilt are deadlocked at a game a piece after the Cavaliers’ 7-2 win in Game 2 of the 2014 College World Series Tuesday night at TD Ameritrade Park. Virginia sophomore Brandon Waddell won the pitching match-up against the Commodores’ first-round draft pick Tyler Beede as the Cavs scored seven runs on 13 hits on a second straight night of double-digit hits.
Waddell’s 115 pitch complete game performance was the first complete game of the 2014 CWS. The southpaw allowed five hits and three walks which included an infield single and a walk in the ninth inning. He shut down the Commodores attack after they took a 2-1 lead in the fourth and rolled a streak of retiring 10 straight hitters.
He retired 16 of the last 19 he faced after giving up the lead in the fourth inning with five strike outs while allowing only an earned run in his winning effort to improve to 10-3 on the season. For a stretch of the game, Waddell was matched by Beede who really pitched well until Virginia began to figure him out late in the game.
Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor was brimming with praise for the pitching performance by his sophomore hurler. “Brandon Waddell was terrific,” said O’Connor, “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.”
“I felt in the beginning I was trying to do too much, put too much behind the ball, spraying it here and there,” said Waddell, “I settled in later in the game. I put the pitches where I needed to.” Even Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin was impressed with the performance, “He basically suffocated our offense for most of the night.”
Beede allowed an earned run through five innings of work and had four strike outs heading into the sixth inning. From that point on the game turned as the Cavaliers scored five runs on the junior in the sixth and seventh innings to put the game out of reach. The right-hander would leave the game with two outs in the seventh having allowed 10 hits and three walks to go with six earned runs in the outing.
“Execution was a little poor the third and fourth times through the lineup. I was working with only two pitches, fastball and changeup,” said Beede in evaluation of his night, “They were finding holes. They’re a talented hitting team.”
The Cavaliers’ offense continued its torrid hitting from Game 1 and has now scored 15 runs on 28 hits in the CWS Finals for a .354 average but what is equally impressive is that they continue to find ways to get on base with a .400 on base percentage.
O’Connor was quick to credit the ability the Cavs have on offense, “There is a lot of real athletic skill in that lineup. Just the ability of guys to get down the line and the pressure that puts on infielders through most of our lineup.”
The middle of the lineup refused to be denied bases, especially late in the contest as Mike Papi went 1-for-3 but drew a pair of walks to get on base three times on the night, two of which he scored. Joe McCarthy went 3-for-5 with a couple of runs scored as well. The middle of the lineup getting on base set up RBI opportunities at the bottom as Kenny Towns went 3-for-5 with a run scored and two RBI while John La Prise contributed two RBI as well.
The Commodores, by comparison, had only nine baserunners on the night with two of them being cut down on double-plays and with the exception of two scoring innings, stranded only four of them, with two being stranded in the ninth inning. Outside of Vanderbilt’s nine-run third inning in Game 1 the Dores are hitting .143 with a .238 on base percentage and two runs scored.
The game did have an ugly moment in the top of the ninth when Papi lowered his shoulder into Tyler Campbell, who has become a Vanderbilt fan favorite of late, while trying to escape being out after getting caught in a rundown between third and home. The Commodores fans were chanting for his removal from the game but the umpires judged that the collision wasn’t malicious as Papi didn’t throw an elbow or forearm.
It was a surprising move from a player who has been a class act all season and even tipped his cap to TCU center fielder Cody Jones after an amazing diving catch robbed him of an extra-base hit in Game 8 of the CWS. However, Papi’s body language seemed to indicate that immediately he regretted making contact with the Dores’ third baseman.
Now the series moves to a deciding game three on Wednesday night at 7:00 PM. The Cavaliers are likely to start Josh Sborz (6-4, 2.84 ERA, 71 K, 42 BB, .206 OBA) against Vanderbilt’s Carson Fulmer (7-1, 2.00 ERA, 1 CG, 90 K, 39 BB, .197 OBA) in what should be a well-pitched elimination game showdown.
“It all comes down to tomorrow night,” said coach O’Connor, “I know our guys will come out and play loose and aggressive like they have this entire postseason. I’m looking forward to seeing them come out and compete tomorrow night.”