OMAHA, Neb. – Vanderbilt capitalized on Virginia starter Nathan Kirby’s sudden loss of control to score nine runs in the third inning, then held off the Cavaliers to win 9-8 in Game 1 of the College World Series finals Monday night.
The Commodores (50-20) can win their first national championship in a men’s sport with a win Tuesday night.
Tyler Campbell continued his improbable breakout for the Commodores, doubling twice in the third inning. His second double came off reliever Whit Mayberry with the bases loaded to put Vanderbilt up 9-2.
But Virginia (52-15) chipped away, scoring three runs in the third, two in the fifth and another in the eighth to make it a one-run game.
Adam Ravenelle came on in the ninth to get the last three outs for his second save of the CWS.
It was the highest-scoring CWS game at TD Ameritrade Park, which opened in 2011, and the most runs allowed by Virginia since an 11-6 loss to Mississippi State in super regionals last year.
The nine runs in the third, off three hits, five walks and a hit batsman , were the most in an inning in the CWS since Stanford scored 11 against Florida State in the ninth on June 14, 2008.
Jared Miller (7-2) got the win for two innings of relief of Walker Buehler. Kirby (9-3) took the loss after his shortest outing of the season.
The Cavaliers got back into the game on Brandon Downes’ two-run single in the third, and Nate Irving’s double and Daniel Pinero’s base hit in the fifth pulled the Cavs to 9-7.
Vandy’s John Kilichowski, a 6-foot-5 lefty making his first appearance since May 17, pitched a 1-2-3 sixth and seventh inning, but allowed back-to-back singles to start the eighth. After Mike Papi’s sacrificed moved over the runners, Joe McCarthy’s RBI groundout made it 9-8.