CLEMSON, Sc (WATE-TV) – Down but never out. Clemson was up 4-2 and one out away from advancing to the regional final when Zane Denton hit a two-out three-run homer to put Tennessee back in the ballgame, leading 5-4.
That was crazy, but it got better, Clemson tied this one up in the bottom of the frame. It wasn’t until five extra innings later that Hunter Ensley launched a double towards the outfield, allowing Maui Ahuna to circle the bases and give Tennessee back the lead and the eventual win, 6-5.
Tigers pitcher Caden Grice came firing out the gate, striking out Tennessee’s top three batters in the first. In the bottom of the inning, Clemson’s Cooper Ingle reached on a single and then tried to steal second, but Cal Stark’s throw beat Ingle to the plate.
The Vols recorded their first hit in the second, courtesy of a Blake Burke single up the middle with two outs. Zane Denton followed up with a pop-up to short, stranding Blake to end the inning.
Clemson almost got on the board in the bottom of the frame. Billy Amick tried to score from second on a single, but Blake Burke threw him out as he tried to slide home.
Christian Scott reached scoring position in the third. The senior was walked and then advanced to second on a Cal Stark bunt. However, back-to-back strikeouts from Maui Ahuna and Hunter Ensley left him stranded.
The Vols broke the scoreless tie in the fourth. Christian Moore sent a shot to the left-field bleachers to put Tennessee up 1-0. It marked his second home run in as many days.
The Tigers threatened in the fifth with runners on the corners and no outs. Cam Cannarella cleared the bases with a shot over the right field wall to give Clemson a 3-1 lead.
Chase Burns replaced Chase Dollander on the mound in the fifth. Dollander gave up seven hits and three runs through 4.1 innings of work. Burns gave up an RBI double on his first pitch out of the bullpen and Clemson took a 4-1 lead into the sixth inning.
Zane Denton made it 4-2 with a solo shot in the seventh.
It stayed that way until the ninth. Christian Moore started the comeback with a single to right, and Blake Burke followed up with a single up the middle to put runners on the corners. With two outs, Zane Denton became the Vols’ hero, hitting his second home run of the day to clear the bases and give Tennessee a 5-4 lead.
With two outs and two strikes, Cannarella doubled, bringing in Blake Wright from third to tie up the ballgame, 5-5.
Into extra innings the Vols and Tigers went, Clemson loaded the bases with no outs in the 10th but a play by Ethan Payne at first kept the Tigers from closing it down by centimeters.
Tennessee stocked the corners as the eleventh rolled on, but couldn’t shut it down.
In the top of the fourteenth, a Hunter Ensley double propelled Maui Ahuna through home, the Vols regaining a lead, 6-5.
Tennessee continued on to load the bases, but Clemson got out of the jam, putting the Vols within three outs of closing down the night.
Seth Halvorsen finished the game off on the mound, the Vols finishing with a 6-5 victory after nearly five hours of baseball.
Up Next: The Vols will play the winner of Clemson vs. Charlotte in the regional final tomorrow at 6 p.m. with a trip to the Super Regional on the line.