On Monday night the Vanderbilt Commodores and the Virginia Cavaliers played the opening game of their best-of-three series to determine who will be national champion in 2014. After a series of games leading up to the finals that were low scoring, the Commodores held on in a shootout for a 9-8 victory.
Put in context, this game was an outlier in a tournament and season that have been characterized by a lack of offense and even some conversations about the lack of offensive power across the country. With all of that in mind and a handful of low-scoring, gritty games over the course of the last few weeks, the Commodores and the Cavaliers busted out for a high-scoring game on Monday night.
The Commodores did all of their damage in one inning, erupting for all nine runs in the top of the third. They scored those runs, mostly, by letting the Cavaliers beat themselves. Vanderbilt hitters drew three RBI walks, brought runs home on an infield single and a foul sacrifice fly, and then finally nailed the rally home with a double.
From that inning on, the Virginia pitching staff held off the Commodores while their offense chipped away at the big deficit. Chip away they did, though it just barely wasn’t enough as they fell by one run in the end.
The Cavaliers now face a quick turnaround and a tense elimination game as they try to keep their championship hopes alive against Vanderbilt. They will try to overcome the disappointment of a game in which they largely beat themselves and even the series up on Tuesday night.