Greensboro, NC- Clemson kept its hopes alive of an appearance in the title game with one swing by Jon McGibbon on Friday evening, stunning Florida State's nearly untouchable closer with a walkoff, three-run home run and a 9-7 victory at the ACC Championship.
"Winning this game," Clemson coach Jack Leggett said, "gives us life for tomorrow."
The Tigers, who would have been knocked from title contention with a loss, will face Georgia Tech at 11 a.m. Saturday. If the Yellow Jackets win, they will play on Sunday, whereas Clemson needs a win and a loss by Virginia to Florida State.
McGibbon hit a slider from Robert Benincasa over the fence in right-center to trigger an exodus from the Tiger dugout and upend Pool A of the eight-team tournament. The Tigers lost their opener to Virginia and were down 7-4 in the eighth when Florida State summoned Benincasa, who had surrendered all of two earned runs all season and had saved nearly as many games (13) as he had allowed hits (16).
No. 8 Georgia Tech had considerable reason to believe it was about to become only the third team seeded eighth or lower to make the title game in the 39-year history of this tournament. A Seminole win would have made it happen.
McGibbon was ready but not necessarily intent on hitting one out of the ballpark.
"The scouting report is that he likes his slider," he said of Benincasa. "The first pitch was a little inside, but he came back with it again and it was right there."
Until, that is, it was over the fence near the scoreboard of NewBridge Bank Park.
"I'm proud of the way we battled," Leggett said, "We could have caved in."
(The ACC contributed to this report.)