We've already had the guarantee of a first-time national championship winner in this College World Series. We've already seen the first game in TD Ameritrade Park in which a team that scored five runs lost. So what about adding one more first?
That will happen Wednesday, when Vanderbilt and Virginia play the first Game 3 of a CWS championship series since the event moved to TD Ameritrade in 2011. (The last three-game series at Rosenblatt Stadium was in 2009.) The Cavaliers took a game in which Tyler Beede pitched well until he was left out on the mound for too long, in which a Virginia player tackled one of Vanderbilt's postseason heroes without much in the way of repercussions, and in which UVA managed to keep its bullpen well-rested ahead of the winner-take-all showdown.
For a while, it looked like Vanderbilt might be able to do what so many first-game winners had done before them and lock up in the series in two games. Going into the sixth, the Commodores were leading 2-1 and Beede was looking like Good Tyler Beede, allowing just three hits and all but shutting down the Virginia offense. But the Cavaliers batters were figuring him out, and promptly starting hammering him. By the time he was pulled in the sixth, Beede had allowed five more runs on seven hits and the game was all but over.
Particularly because Brandon Waddell was settling in for the Cavaliers. He limited the Commodores to five hits and three walks en route to a complete game. That allowed Virginia's solid bullpen to do nothing but warm up a bit here and there -- giving the Cavaliers more than enough arms for Game 3. Vanderbilt didn't really pitch any of its relievers to the point that they can't go again on Wednesday, but some rest is still better than no rest.
The only real drama after the sixth inning came when Mike Papi plowed into Vanderbilt third baseman Tyler Campbell in the bottom of the ninth to end a run-down. The incident didn't get Papi ejected from the game, and didn't really have any tangible impact on the game. It was just another sour note for Vanderbilt on a night that had too many of them for the Commodores to clinch the school's first national title in a major sport. At least not on Tuesday.