Clemson hopes to avoid longest conference losing streak in school history
Clemson’s baseball program just can’t stop the bleeding.
The Tigers, who lost 13-8 at No. 11 Georgia Tech on Saturday, have lost nine straight ACC games and 10 of their last 11 overall. It’s the worst stretch of baseball for the program since the 2008 season when Clemson lost 12 of 13 games at one point and did not make the NCAA Tournament.
“We are going through some adversity, maybe as much adversity this program has faced. I don’t know,” Clemson head coach Monte Lee said to The Clemson Insider following Saturday’s loss. “I know it’s as much adversity as a I have ever faced as a coach.”
Today at 1 p.m., the Tigers will try to avoid becoming the first Clemson team in history to lose 10 straight conference games when it closes out its three-game series with the Yellow Jackets. Right now, the Tigers are tied with the 2017 team with the most consecutive conference losses.
“These kids are fighting as hard as they can. They are doing the best they can,” Lee said. “Things just are not going our way right now and we all know why.”
Right now, the Tigers (26-18, 11-12 ACC) are losing in all sorts of ways. They are losing because they are not getting those timely hits with runners in scoring position. They are losing because the bullpen can’t close a game out. They are losing because starting pitching can’t get past the fourth inning. They are losing because the defense makes two or three errors in a game that comes back to bite them.
“I am not going to give in, and we are not going to give in as a program. I am not going to give in, and I am certainly not going to start yelling and screaming and blaming (the players) because these guys have to show up and compete every day,” Lee said.
In each of the first two games of the Georgia Tech series Clemson has outplayed the Yellow Jackets. However, in Game 1, two costly errors hurt the them in an 8-7 loss. In Game 2, the bullpen fell apart in the bottom of the seventh inning, giving up seven runs.
“Quite honestly, the thing I have to remind our guys of, and they are kids, but I have to remind them that we have been pretty good out of the bullpen. We have had some success out of the bullpen,” Lee said. “I know it does not look that way basically from the Florida State series on, but before the Florida State series our bullpen had really been the strength of ours. So, I just have to keep trying to encourage those guys and hopefully a couple of those guys will step up for us.”
Lee says he players have been fighting and playing as hard as they can during the current slide. He said the energy in the dugout has been good and the players’ attitude has been good as well.
“I can’t ask for a better effort from our players,” he said. “I can’t ask them to compete any harder than they are competing right now. I can’t ask them to show up to the ballpark with better energy.
“It is awfully tough. It is tough on all of us. It’s tough on the players. It is tough on the coaches. All I can do is keep encouraging them and to keep fighting. This is a fight worth fighting. That is the bottom line.”