CLEMSON, S.C. - Tennessee secured its spot in the regional final with a back-and-forth 6-5 victory over No. 4 Clemson in an instant classic in front of a sellout crowd at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Saturday night.
Hunter Ensley's RBI double in the top of the 14th inning proved to be the game-winning hit as the Volunteers ended the Tigers' 17-game winning streak and earned their first win on the road at Clemson since 1990.
With the Big Orange down to their final strike, it was a Zane Denton three-run homer in the top of the ninth that provided UT the opportunity to win the game in extras, as the senior transfer hammered a 2-2 pitch deep into the night to put the the Vols ahead 5-4.
CU's Cam Cannarella answered Denton's homer with a two-out RBI double to tie the game at five in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extras.
Tennessee got standout performances on the mound throughout the game, none bigger than relief outings from Chase Burns and Seth Halvorsen.
Burns gave the Vols 6.1 innings in relief of starter Chase Dollander, striking out eight Tigers while allowing just one run. Halvorsen was just as dominant, tossing the final 3.1 innings without allowing a hit while striking out three batters to pick up his third win of the year.
Denton led the Vols at the plate with a pair of home runs and four RBIs while Christian Moore and Blake Burke also played key roles with three hits apiece. Moore reached base five times, drawing a pair of walks to go along with his three knocks, had an RBI and scored two runs.
After three scoreless innings, the Vols struck first with a solo homer from Moore in the top of the fourth, his second round tripper of the regional.
After tossing four solid innings to start the game, Dollander ran into trouble in the bottom of the fifth. The junior right hander gave up back-to-back singles to start the frame and then allowed a three-run home run to Cannarella before being pulled from the game. Clemson added a fourth run in the inning on a Caden Grice double to left field to take a 4-1 lead into the sixth.
Denton hit is 13th long ball of the year to get a run back for UT in the seventh, blasting a solo shot to center field to cut the deficit to two before his heroic three-run shot two innings later to keep the game going.
Grice was lights out on the mound for the Tigers before being pulled with two outs and two runners on in the ninth. The junior struck out 10 and allowed four runs on six hits in 8.2 innings.
CU used nine relievers to pitch the final 5.1 innings. Casey Tallent was stuck with the loss after giving up one run on one hit and two walks in 0.1 innings.
The 14 innings tied the longest game in program history, which had occurred four other times prior to Saturday night, most recently in a 5-3 win at Texas A&M on April 23, 2017.
UP NEXT: Tennessee (40-19) will await the winner of Sunday's elimination game between Clemson and Charlotte, which will begin at noon. The Vols will take on the winner of that game on Sunday at 6 p.m. with a chance to punch their ticket to the NCAA Super Regionals with a victory.