Virginia deserved a Game 3 in the 2014 College World Series finals, and it got one.
On Tuesday night, the Cavaliers defeated the Commodores by the score of 7-2. It was close for the first few innings. At the end of the fifth, Vanderbilt held a 2-1 lead.
But then Virginia exploded for three runs in the top of the sixth and two more in the seventh. The Cavaliers continued to pile on, and the Commodores never answered.
After Game 1, though, everyone should've saw this coming. Here's how to watch Game 3 of this best-of-three series.
When: Wednesday, June 25, at 8 p.m. ET
The College World Series finals should be over.
Virginia dominated Game 2, just like it dominated Game 1. It held Vanderbilt without a run in eight innings on Monday and seven on Tuesday. The only thing keeping Vanderbilt alive is a fluke third inning in Game 1.
Nathan Kirby, one of the best pitchers in college baseball, began Monday with a 9-3 record, a 2.06 ERA and 112 strikeouts. But in the third, he walked five batters, and by the end of the inning, nine Commodores had scored. Despite them holding a 9-2 lead, they nearly blew it after Kirby's exit, barely holding on for a 9-8 "triumph."
Entering Game 2, it was clear Virginia was the team to beat. And if Vanderbilt were to win, it would need drastic improvement. That improvement was lacking, especially on offense.
Cavaliers starting pitcher Brandon Waddell played all nine innings and allowed just five hits and one earned run. Waddell's stamina doesn't bode well for the Commodores in Game 3, according to Creighton sports information director Rob Anderson:
Short of winning, best thing Vandy could do is force Virginia to use Artie Lewicki tonight so he can't start Game 3. He's been great at CWS.— Rob Anderson (@_robanderson) June 25, 2014
Artie Lewicki is now free to start Game 3. He's done much of his damage this season as a reliever, but he did start nine games. He'll wake up on Wednesday with a 8-1 record, a 1.44 ERA and an opposing batting average of .188.
Good luck, Vanderbilt.
Now, Perfect Game's Kendall Rogers reported Josh Sborz is expected to start, but if that's the case, Lewicki will still be available in relief.
Lewicki pitched every game for Virginia in the College World Series before the finals, and he was just as outstanding.
He held Ole Miss without a hit in 2.0 innings in its Omaha, Nebraska, opener, and he did the same thing to TCU. Against Ole Miss the second time, he pitched 3.0 innings, allowed one hit and zero runs.
Vanderbilt, meanwhile, is expected to start Carson Fuller, according to Cavs Journal:
Vandy Coach Tim Corbin says his "intentions" are to start Carson Fulmer in Game 3, but not official yet. As for bullpen, "Everyone’s in."— Cavs Journal (@CavsJournal) June 25, 2014
Which team will win the CWS?
Fuller would be pitching on little rest. He just started on Sunday against Texas. Of course, he couldn't make it out of the fourth inning before walking six batters, surrendering four hits, giving up two earned runs and being pulled.
While his short outing should make him a tad more rested, his performance can't make the Commodores confident about his ability to win a Game 3 against these scorching Cavaliers.
Erase the third inning of Game 1, and Virginia has outscored Vanderbilt in the College World Series 15-2. Expect that run differential to increase on Wednesday.
Prediction: Virginia by four
David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report. He tweets, too.