Never-say-die Gamecocks battle past Clemson in 12th

The South Carolina Gamecocks did it again, this time rallying past rival Clemson in the winners’ bracket of the NCAA Columbia Regional for a 5-4 victory on Saturday.

South Carolina junior LB Dantzler ripped a walk-off base hit to score freshman Joey Pankake from third in the 12th inning of the showdown between state powers.

Clemson faces Coastal Carolina in an elimination game on Sunday while the Gamecocks await the winner. The Gamecocks need only to win one of their next two to advance to the NCAA Super-Regional.

Things looked bleak for the Gamecocks, who have now won 18 consecutive postseason games. Trailing 4-2, South Carolina cut the deficit to one entering the ninth inning and used some late magic to force extra innings.

Christian Walker ripped a double that scored the tying run and sent Chase Veguson toward the plate looking to score the winning run, but Clemson catcher Spencer Kieboom forced him wide of home plate and made the plate with a swipe tag then applied the final out as Marzilli crawled toward the plate.

South Carolina nearly got a walk-off home run in the 10th inning from Adam Matthews but the ball hit the top of the centerfield wall and bounced back in play for a double. He was unable to score and the game went on.

South Carolina reliever Evan Beal got the win while Clemson was forced to dig deep into its bullpen, giving Coastal reason for hope in a rematch of Friday’s opener. The Tigers hammered Coastal 11-3 in that game.

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