On one hand, Virginia has to be sick to its stomach that it handed out nine runs during a third inning meltdown in Game 1 of the College World Series Finals against Vanderbilt -- a game it lost, 9-8. If not for that half inning -- or hell, if they had just given up seven runs instead of nine -- the Cavaliers would probably be one win away from a national championship entering Game 2 on Tuesday.
On the other hand, Virginia has to be confident knowing that even with that nightmare frame, it only lost by one run and were clearly the better team for the other eight-and-a-half innings. After sinking into a 9-2 hole, the Cavaliers refused to quit, rallying for six unanswered runs. Twice in the bottom of the eighth they were inches from squeaking a ground ball through the middle and scoring the tying run.
College World Series
College World Series
Vanderbilt has to know that it was fortunate Monday. The Commodores may be one win away from a title, but if they continue to get outplayed like they did in Game 1, they could become just the third team since 2003 to win Game 1 of the Finals and lose the series.
Seven times in the last 11 years, the winner of the first game has gone on to win in two games.
Vandy will turn to ace pitcher Tyler Beede to seal the deal Tuesday night. The 14th overall pick in the MLB Draft earlier this month, Beede was originally pencilled in as the Game 1 starter, but was scratched for Walker Buehler roughly two hours before the first pitch. Despite the elite talent that accompanies being a first-rounder, Beede has struggled on the mound as of late -- and that's putting it mildly. He has allowed 10 runs over his last two tournament starts, and didn't make it out of the fifth inning in either.
Virginia is expected to counter with Brandon Waddell, who enters with a 1.86 ERA over three tournament starts. His last start came against TCU in the Cavs' second game in Omaha. Waddell gave up just one earned run off six hits over seven innings, and Virginia went on to win a walk-off in the 15th.
If Waddell can avoid catastrophe, the Cavs have a good chance to push the series to a third game.