Tennessee's baseball team defeated Clemson on Saturday night in an instant classic to advance to the Clemson Regional Final. Tennessee outfielder Christian Scott (8) celebrates winning a NCAA baseball regional game between Tennessee and Clemson held at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson, S.C., on Saturday, June 3, 2023.

With a spot in the final of the Clemson Regional on the line, Clemson and Tennessee’s baseball programs staged an instant classic on Saturday night.

The Volunteers ultimately prevailed in the game, winning 6-5 in 14 innings. But it looked like the Tigers had the game won in the 10th inning.

Tennessee pitcher Chase Burns got into a serious jam, as Clemson loaded the bases with nobody out. But Burns dug in. First, he struck out Blake Wright. Then, with one out, Benjamin Blackwell hit a grounder to second baseman, Christian Moore. Rather than go home, Moore tried to turn the double play, flipping the ball to shortstop, Maui Ahuna, who fired to first. Initially, Blackwell was ruled to have beaten the throw, which would have ended the game. But after review, the call was overturned.

In the top of the 13th inning, Clemson returned the favor, turning a double play on Tennessee, who had the bases loaded and only one out. The calls on the field weren’t dramatic, as both Volunteer runners were clearly out.

But when the game returned from a commercial break, there was an argument between Tigers manager, Erik Bakich, and the umpires. Eventually, it was determined that Clemson center fielder, Cam Cannarella, had been controversially ejected for something he said to Tennessee’s Zane Denton, who was thrown out at second base on the double play.

Interestingly enough, Denton and Cannarella were also the biggest reasons that the game went to extra innings. Clemson led Tennessee 4-2 in the top of the ninth inning. But with two outs and down to his final strike, Denton drilled a three-run home run out of the stadium to give the Volunteers the lead.

Then, with Tennessee leading 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Cannarella came to the plate with two outs and a runner on third. Down to his final strike, Cannarella smoked a game-tying double.

In the 14th inning, the Volunteers retook the lead. A Hunter Ensley line drive rolled to the wall, allowing Ahuna to sprint around the diamond, scoring from first base on the double.

Clemson threatened in the bottom of the 14th inning, with Will Taylor reaching third base. But Seth Halvorsen slammed the door, getting Jack Chrighton to fly out to shallow right field to end the game.

College baseball fans loved the marathon game.

So, what’s next for both teams?

Tennessee’s road to Omaha and the College World Series got a lot smoother with this win. The Volunteers move into the Clemson Regional Final.

With the loss, Clemson goes into the elimination bracket. The Tigers will face Charlotte on Sunday. The loser of that will be eliminated while the winner will move on to face Tennessee on Sunday night. But the Volunteers will have to win only one game, while Clemson/Charlotte winner will have to beat Tennessee on both Sunday night and Monday.

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