Virginia and Vanderbilt will play a winner- take-all Game 3 on Wednesday to culminate another tight College World Series.
Adam Haseley gave Virginia a fantastic spot start and the Cavaliers scored three unearned runs in the sixth inning to earn a 3-0 victory on Tuesday.
Haseley, a freshman center fielder who started four games during the regular season but had not pitched since May 23, threw five-plus innings of shutout ball for Virginia's depleted rotation.
Josh Sborz was just as effective with four scoreless innings of relief, and the Cavaliers took advantage of a generous bounce and a costly error to break a scoreless tie in the sixth.
A grounder up the middle was tailor made for an inning-ending force out, but the ball hit the second base bag and left runners on first and second. Zander Wiel's miscue at first loaded the bases, and Ernie Clement and Thomas Woodruff followed with run-scoring hits, the latter bringing in a pair to highlight a three-hit night.
Philip Pfeifer took the loss after Vanderbilt's ace Carson Fulmer led Vanderbilt to a 5-1 win in the series opener on Monday.
The Commodores, who beat Virginia in three games in the last season's final, are looking to become the seventh team to win back-to-back national titles.