Game 15 Summary: Virginia v. Vanderbilt

Virginia kept its 2015 College World Series championship hopes alive with a 3-0 victory over Vanderbilt in game two of the CWS Finals at TD Ameritrade Park.

Facing elimination for the second time in four days, the Cavaliers (43-24) used a sixth inning burst to tie the three-game championship series with the Commodores (51-20) at one-all.

Scoreless through five and a half innings for the second straight game, it was Virginia that got on the board first on Tuesday with a three-run, two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth. Back-to-back singles from Pavin Smith and Kevin Doherty preceded Joe McCarthy reaching on a VU error, which loaded the bases. Ernie Clement came through with a ground ball single through the left side, scoring Smith to break the tie. From there, Thomas Woodruff’s two-RBI single plated Doherty and McCarthy, making it 3-0.

Down to their last chance, the Commodores looked to rally in the ninth with a single from Bryan Reynolds and a Will Toffey walk to start the inning, but UVa buckled down with three straight outs to end the threat and secure the win.

UVa’s Adam Haseley started the game on the hill and threw five shutout innings, scattering four hits and three walks while striking out one. Haseley became the second starting pitcher in CWS history to also hit leadoff, joining Clemson’s Bailey Hendley, who accomplished the feat on June 15, 1958.

Josh Sborz (7-2) threw four innings in relief for the Cavaliers and earned the win, giving up three hits with three strikeouts. Sborz has a CWS record three wins this season, becoming the 11th pitcher to achieve that mark, and combined with last season has won four games in his CWS career. Those four wins ties him for second most all-time in CWS history.

VU’s Philip Pfeifer (6-5) was dealt the loss after allowing three runs (none earned) in 5.2 innings on the hill. Pfeifer struck out six batters and allowed eight hits before Ben Bowden entered to close out the sixth inning and pitch the seventh, recording two strikeouts himself. Jordan Sheffield threw a scoreless eighth inning with one hit and two strikeouts.

Clement and Woodruff each went 3-for-4 to lead the Cavaliers, while seven different players recorded hits for Vanderbilt, including Toffey, who reached base three times with a single and two walks. Neither team recorded an extra base hit in the game.

For the second straight season, Vanderbilt and Virginia will settle the best-of-three CWS Finals in a decisive game three on Wednesday. This is just the second three-game series to go the distance since the tournament moved to TDAP in 2011. First pitch in the winner-take-all contest is set for 7 p.m. CDT.