An unfortunate couple of plays in the bottom of the sixth inning--a bad hop off the second base bag and a topspin Wiel couldn’t grab a hold of--cost the Commodores three unearned runs.
The Commodores went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position, despite being the power-bats of the country going into the College World Series.
Pfeifer started the game, pitching 5 beautiful innings before the last 2/3rds of it ending in bad hops and topspins. It’s easy to say Pfeifer deserved better, pitching in his first College World Series final game and keeping the Commodores in it until bad luck ran through the infield. His final line was 5.2 innings pitched, with three runs, zero earned, on eight hits, with one walk and six strikeouts. Bowden and Sheffield came in on relief and pitched just as well, however the damage had been done and the Commodores couldn’t overcome.
Swanson reached base in the first inning of play with two outs, and Wiel got him over to third but the inning ended before any runs could be scored. In the second inning, Jeren Kendall reached base only to be picked off for the third out of the inning.
Kendall went on to rally some significant at-bats, racking up some pitch counts, but ultimately ending in unfortunate results.
Adam Haseley, UVA starter, is a soft-tossing southpaw/outfielder that easily got overlooked coming into the game. Josh Sborz came in relief in the sixth inning, throwing up to 94 mph by the end of the game. With over 70 pitches in four innings of work, it’s safe to say that Sborz’ work in the CWS is over.
Clement and Woodruff accounted for the three RBI for Virginia, scoring Smith, Doherty and McCarthy on the mishandled plays.
Zander Wiel earned the only error in the game, misplaying the ball at first base allowing the runners to advance, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t other issues. A ball up the middle bounced off the second base bag making the play unattainable and allowing the runners on base. Later, a collision in the middle infield cost the Commodores an easy out, where Swanson should have easily handled the ball but Rogers went for it as well (see image above).
It was a mistake-ridden game on the base-paths and in the infield, and Virginia capitalized in the sixth inning. This forces a game to be played Wednesday night at 8 eastern, 7 central on ESPN, barring any impending weather.
To those that are currently sorrowful, I want to brighten your day and remind you of last year’s CWS final. Need I say more? Stay tuned for tomorrow/Thursday's final throwdown as Vanderbilt takes on Virginia, once again, in the rubber match of the College World Series.