Tigers on pace for worst hitting season in almost 40 years


by - Senior Writer -
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You have to go all the way back to 1973 to find a Tiger team that hit lower than the current .272 for the season.

CLEMSON – The Clemson baseball team has played 22 games this season, and sits perfectly even with a record of 11-11.

In the Atlantic Coast Conference, however, the Tigers are 3-6, with all three wins coming in a sweep of Boston College and the six losses coming in the forms of sweeps against North Carolina and Virginia.

In the sweep at Virginia, the Tigers were outscored by a combined score of 16-7, and the Cavaliers outhit the Tigers .300 to .208.

The 2012 team is a far cry from what Clemson fans are used to, and the unlikely culprit for the early-season record has been the hitting, long a Clemson staple. Now the Tigers are struggling to find ways to score runs, and that shows up in the ACC team statistics, where Clemson is at or near the bottom in most offensive categories.

Keeping in mind that there are 12 teams in the league, the Tigers are 11th in batting average (.265), 11th in slugging percentage (.379), 10th in on base percentage (.361), 10th in runs scored (116), 12th in hits (197), ninth in RBI (111), 12th in doubles (33), 11th in triples (3), sixth in home runs (16), 12th in total bases (281), 11th in plate appearances (881), 12th in at bats (742), ninth in walks (96), 11th in stolen bases (19), and 11th in steal attempts (24).

That all adds up to 5.27 runs scored per game, good for ninth in the conference.

The pitching doesn’t escape culpability, however. The Tigers sit at seventh in the conference in ERA (3.61), but are allowing a league-worst opponent batting average at .270. The defense has committed 28 errors – North Carolina leads the ACC with just 23 errors while Georgia Tech is far and away the league leader with 43.

Back to the offense, however. The Tigers have just four regulars who are hitting over .300 – Steve WilkersonSteve Wilkerson
So. 2nd Base
#17 6-1, 185
Roswell, GA

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(.393), Richie ShafferRichie Shaffer
Jr. 3rd Base
#8 6-3, 205
Charlotte, NC

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(.316), Phil PohlPhil Pohl
Sr. Catcher
#9 5-11, 215
Cooperstown, NY

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(.304), and Jason StolzJason Stolz
Sr. Infielder
#2 6-2, 205
Marietta, GA

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(.303). Shaffer, however, is going through a slump, collecting just four hits in his past 37 at-bats.

Shaffer was on fire through the early part of the season, but he was almost all of the offense in early games, and one wonders if he isn’t beginning to feel the pressure of having to carry the team offensively.

Take away the recent play of Joe CostiganJoe Costigan
So. Outfielder
#5 5-11, 200
Naples, FL

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and Mike DunsterMike Dunster
So. Infielder
#10 5-10, 180
Greenwich, CT

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, and the Tigers have eight players with more than 25 at-bats who are hitting below .259 – not exactly a recipe for success in the competitive ACC.

You have to go all the way back to 1973 to find a Tiger team that hit lower than the current .272 – Clemson hit just .259 that season. That season was also the last time a Clemson team had a slugging percentage lower than .415, finishing with a slugging percentage of .388.

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