Up to Monday, Clemson entered games for 18 consecutive weeks with a number before their name, but on the wrong end of a home sweep, they dropped out all of the countless collegiate baseball polls.
Fresh off three wins in TigerTown, Miami (32-13) moved into the top-10 (at 10), joining ACC peers No. 1 Virginia (37-8) and No. 6 Florida State (33-11).
After debuting No. 13 preseason, the Tigers’ up-and-down season has been more the latter lately.
Miami 10, Clemson 2
Hurricanes complete sweep
Jack Leggett’s bunch (25-19) have lost 10 of their last 15 games – three home ACC series in a row. They dropped nearly 20 spots in the latest unofficial RPI (47) Friday to Monday.
On the season, they rank second in the ACC in runs (257; 5.8 per game) and tops in batting average (.282), but in the last 15 games, they managed only 3.3 runs while giving up 4.1 on average. Against the ‘Canes, they hit .130 with runners in scoring position.
Their other stats aren’t quite as confounding.
An inconsistent pitching staff ranks 12th in team ERA (3.96) and last in walks per nine innings (4.35).
Clemson is only better than Pittsburgh in fielding percentage (.962) and third in errors (64).
If the ACC Tournament were to start today, Clemson would be in a group with Virginia, Florida State and the play-in winner between Wake Forest and Maryland. The other pool would be Miami, Duke, UNC and the play-in winner between Georgia Tech and Pitt.
The Tigers haven’t advanced to a title game of the round-robin tournament – last winning the ACC in 2006 in a double-elimination format.
By their current run output, Clemson’s “expected” to have an 8-4 finish, reaching 33-23 going into Greensboro. Another poor conference tourney showing and they could be a 3-seed to on the bubble for the NCAAs.
Clemson junior right-hander Daniel Gossett is third in the ACC in ERA (1.70) and fifth in opposing average (.189).
Lefty sophomore Matthew Crownover has been solid since moving to a Friday role midseason, 6-4 with a 2.44 ERA.
Dominant senior closer Matt Campbell (0.42 ERA/6 saves) has missed the last two weeks with a shoulder injury, making Clemson look deeper into the bench.
Redshirt freshman Garrett Lovorn and sophomore Jackson Campana have thrown 7 1/3 scoreless innings over the last couple weeks. True freshman Drew Moyer has a 2.86 ERA after 17 appearances.
After a lights-out start, junior sidearmer Clay Bates’ ERA is over 5 (5.18) – opponents batting .266 off him.
Lefty Zack Erwin (3-2, 4.23) and righty Clate Schmidt (4-6, 4.40) have had their peaks and valleys in their second seasons. Erwin struck out 15 batters in two appearances last week, but surrendered two runs in relief Sunday.
The ACC-pacing Tigers’ lineup struggled over the weekend, scoring two runs per game. Tyler Krieger had a nagging shoulder injury that forced him to miss two of the three games – he leads Clemson in average (.333) and runs (35).
Clemson catcher Garrett Boulware struck out three times on Sunday after only 15 strikeouts all season, going 1-for-13 in the series.
Freshman catcher Chris Okey’s batting has stayed steady in the mid .200s, but he’s still averaging just under an RBI per game (.840).
Five of the Tigers’ bench options are hitting sub-.200, while last year’s leader in average – Shane Kennedy – is batting .220 in 25 games back from a major knee injury.
The Florida product has been solid stepping in at first base, with a .986 fielding percentage. Freshman Eli White has come on of late with three errors to 16 putouts/25 assists. Krieger committed his 19th error last Friday (ACC-worst).