Virginia should've won Game 1 of the 2014 College World Series.
It held Vanderbilt scoreless in eight innings. But in the top of the third, an improbable five walks and error led to nine Commodore runs. The Cavaliers still climbed back to within one run, but they ran out of innings and lost by the score of 9-8.
Expect a different result in Game 2 (start time: 8 p.m. ET).
Virginia's one weakness on Monday, starting pitcher Nathan Kirby, outweighed all of its strengths. But barring another unexpected meltdown, those strengths will even the series.
And Kirby's performance was surprising. Prior to Game 1, he boasted a 9-3 record, 2.06 ERA and 112 strikeouts. His third inning left viewers, including Perfect Game's Kendall Rogers, dumbfounded.
Vanderbilt can't bank on a similar performance in Game 2. Without it on Monday, Virginia would've dominated.
The Cavaliers finished the game with a whopping 15 hits. They forced Vanderbilt to use four pitchers to stop them. The Commodores finished with just six hits, so despite their win, they're the ones who need to improve drastically on Tuesday.
This will be difficult against Virginia starting pitcher Brandon Waddell. He has a record of 9-3 this season, a 2.57 ERA and allows an opposing batting average of just .242.
In his last College World Series outing, he was just as dominant. Waddell surrendered just one earned run and six hits in 7.0 innings against TCU. The Cavaliers went on to win 3-2.
Vanderbilt shouldn't be nearly as confident in its starter, Tyler Beede. He only has an 8-7 record this season and a 3.80 ERA.
In his last College World Series start, he didn't even make it out of the third inning. Beede was pulled after 3.2 innings after he walked three UC Irvine batters and gave up four earned runs.
This wasn't a fluke performance like Kirby's. Beede also struggled in his previous start against Stanford in Game 1 of the super regionals. He lasted just 4.2 innings after he walked four batters and surrendered six earned runs.
The Commodores hitters saved him on both occasions. They have the scoring ability to close out the series in Game 2. But in Game 1, outside of the top of the third inning, they looked inferior to the Cavaliers.
Unless Vanderbilt has a dramatic turnaround, and Beede at least competes with Waddell, there will be a Game 3.
Prediction: Virginia by three
David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report. He tweets, too.
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