June 24, 2014


Waddell Goes the Distance as Virginia Downs Vanderbilt


In Omaha, Neb., sophomore Brandon Waddell (left) earned a complete-game victory as third-seeded Virginia defeated Vanderbilt 7-2 Tuesday evening in front of 24,308 fans at TD Ameritrade Park to even the championship series of the 2014 College World Series at one game apiece. (photos by Matt Riley/Virginia Athletics)


The Cavaliers (53-15) and the Commodores (50-21) will meet in a winner-take-all contest on Wednesday at 7 p.m. CT to decide the national title.


“Brandon Waddell was just terrific,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “It seemed like after the first four innings, he settled in. He really did a terrific job of mixing all his pitches.”


Waddell (10-3) allowed five hits and one earned run with three walks and five strikeouts. He threw 115 pitches, of which 75 were strikes.


“Waddell threw a heck of a game,” Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin said. “You’ve got to give him a ton of credit. He basically suffocated our offense.”


It was the first career complete game for Waddell.


“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.”


Vanderbilt got on the board in the bottom of the second. John Norwood (2 for 3) drew a one-out walk and stole second. He advanced to third on a base hit by Rhett Wiseman and scored on a groundout by Chris Harvey to give the Commodores a 1-0 lead.


Virginia answered in the top of the third. Brandon Downes (2 for 5) had a one-out single and moved to third on a base hit by Robbie Coman. Branden Cogswell (2 for 4) had a safety squeeze to bring home Downes and knot the score at 1.


The Commodores reclaimed the lead in the fourth. Zander Wiel reached second on an error to start the frame and scored on a double by Norwood as Vandy took a 2-1 lead.


The Cavaliers took their first lead in the sixth. Mike Papi had a leadoff single and moved to third on a base hit by Joe McCarthy (3 for 5, 2 R). Derek Fisher hit into a fielder's choice and Papi scored on the play to even the game at 2-2. Fisher stole second and moved to third on a single by Kenny Towns (3 for 5). John La Prise grounded out to second, plating Fisher with the go-ahead run. Downes tripled to right center to drive in Towns and extend the lead to 4-2.


Virginia added to its advantage in the top of the seventh as Towns delivered a two-run single to make it a 6-2 lead.


La Prise added an RBI single in the top of the ninth as the Cavaliers extended the lead to 7-2.


“It’s a tough team to pitch against,” Corbin said. “I have no issue with our pitching.”


Vanderbilt starter Tyler Beede (8-8) went 6.2 innings with 10 hits, six runs, three walks and four strikeouts.




  • At this point, it’s expected that Vanderbilt will start Carson Fulmer, who would be pitching on three days’ rest. “Our intentions will probably be Fulmer,” Corbin said. “I’m sure he’ll fight to take the ball.” O’Connor and the Cavaliers are leaning on starting Josh Sborz. “I think it’s very likely that he will. Certainly not having touched [Artie] Lewicki and [Nick] Howard in these ballgames is important.”

  • Virginia will be the home team in Wednesday’s championship game. The visiting team has won each of the first two games of the Championship Series and is 8-7 this year in the College World Series.

  • Cavaliers centerfielder Brandon Downes battled a wrist injury and batted just .218 during the regular season. His at-bats have gotten better and better throughout the tournament, and he’s gone 4 for 10 with three RBI in the first two games of the Championship Series. “I’m so proud of him,” O’Connor said. “It’s been well-documented with his wrist. He grinded through it for his team. When you do that and you’re selfless and you continue to fight, the game comes back around for you.”

  • Virginia first baseman Mike Papi was in the middle of some controversy in the ninth inning when he was caught in a rundown between third and home. Commodores pitcher TJ Pecoraro did a nice job running Papi back to third and threw to third baseman Tyler Campbell. Papi lowered his shoulder and collided with Campbell right after Campbell caught the ball, knocking Campbell to the ground. The umpires huddled and sent Virginia runners back to first and second. When asked if it would carry over to Wednesday, Corbin said, “No way. No.”

  • O’Connor to ESPN’s Jessica Mendoza on the field after the game about his team: “They’re tough, they’ve got a lot of grit to them.” In the postgame press conference, he added that he was calm after Monday’s loss, “because I know the bounce back that this team has shown all year.”

  • Corbin called Virginia “a tough team to pitch against,” because of its patience and approach at the plate.

  • Beede gave Vandy a solid start, holding Virginia to one run through five innings. He said, “I could have executed better,” as the game wore on.