OMAHA, Neb. — Sophomore Brandon Waddell threw his first career nine-inning complete game, third baseman Kenny Towns contributed three singles and drove in two runs, and Virginia defeated Vanderbilt 7-2 Tuesday to even the College World Series championship series at one win apiece.
Virginia (53-15) forced a decisive third game at 8 Wednesday night on ESPN, with the winner claiming its first NCAA baseball title.
Vanderbilt (50-21) is seeking its first NCAA championship in any men's sport. The Commodores won Game 1 9-8 Monday night and led midway through Tuesday night's game, but couldn't hold on.
Right fielder Joe McCarthy added three hits to help the Cavaliers earn the win in front of 24,308 fans at TD Ameritrade Park.
Waddell, making his second CWS start, improved to 10-3 on the season. He allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits through four innings, then held the Commodores to one hit, two walks and no runs thereafter.
Waddell retired 12 consecutive batters before allowing a walk and an infield single with two outs in the ninth.
Towns, atoning for his fourth-inning throwing error that led to an unearned Vanderbilt run, singled and scored in a three-run fifth inning that put the Cavaliers ahead to stay. He also drove in two runs with a bases-loaded, two-out single in the seventh that chased Vanderbilt starting pitcher Tyler Beede.
In 6 2/3 innings, Beede threw 120 pitches, allowed 10 hits and six runs, struck out four and walked three.
Vanderbilt took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning.
Center fielder John Norwood walked with one out and went to third base on right fielder Rhett Wiseman's single to center field. Designated hitter Chris Harvey then drilled a ball off Waddell's non-pitching shoulder. Waddell recovered to throw out Harvey, but Norwood scored.
Virginia tied the game in the top of the third inning on second baseman Branden Cogswell's safety squeeze up the first-base line. The bunt scored center fielder Brandon Downes, who reached on an infield single.
Norwood gave Vanderbilt a 2-1 lead in the fourth when he hit a double into left-center field to score first baseman Zander Wiel, who reached on a throwing error to lead off the inning.
Virginia's bullpen entered Tuesday night's game having allowed one run in 20 2/3 innings in the College World Series. That run came after an error in Monday night's nine-run third inning by Vanderbilt. ...
Vanderbilt is the sixth Southeastern Conference team to reach the CWS finals in the past seven years. LSU (2009) and South Carolina (2010, 2011) won titles in that span. ...
The previous four championship series ended in two-game sweeps.