Vanderbilt's starting pitcher, Philip Pfeifer, pitched well throughout most of the game, striking out five and getting out of several hairy situations with UVa players in scoring position. However, in the sixth inning a fielding error by first baseman Zander Wiel coupled with a crazy bounce in a play that could have ended the inning, contributed to the Virginia plating three runs. Vandy lefty Ben Bowden would come in to stop the bleeding but the damage was done.
Throughout the game Vanderbilt would get runners on but had trouble advancing them because of solid pitching from Virginia starting pitcher Adam Haseley (5.0 IP, 3 hits, 0 ER) and relief pitcher Josh Sborz (4.0 IP, 3 hits, 3 K, 0 ER).
The writing was on the wall in the eighth when Vandy's best hitters (Zander Wiel, Dansby Swanson, and Rhett Wiseman) went 3 up, 3 down. In the ninth things suddenly looked promising when the first two batter up, Bryan Reynolds and Will Toffey, each reached base. But it wasn't to be on this night. After a long at-bat, the Cavaliers Sborz would strike out Jeren Kendall. Kyle Ellison's fly ball resulted in the Commodores being down to their last out. Nolan Rogers then struck out swinging to end the game.
A somber Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin reflected on the loss after the game.
"I thought Phil did a hell of a job," said Corbin. "I thought he really pitched well. The game sometimes has some bounces that just get in your way. Like I said last night, it's erratic. I thought he made a nice pitch to Pavin Smith, he got inside the back but Smith hit it the other way. There was a ball hit back up the middle that hit the bag. You know, just from a bounce stand point it just didn't go our way."
Vanderbilt (51-20) will face the Cavaliers in a decisive game three on Wednesday at 7 pm CT. If the Commodores can win it'll be the school's second consecutive national baseball title.