CLEMSON – On a Clemson baseball team desperate for offense, coach Jack Leggett hopes Tyler Slaton’s improvement is for real and can be sustained.
Slaton went 10 for 21 last week in five games against Georgia and No. 1 North Carolina last week to elevate his batting average to .317 on the season.
Slaton has gone from being benched to begin the year – going 1 for 15 to open the season - to Clemson’s starting leftfielder and leadoff hitter as Clemson (18-11, 6-6 ACC) travels to Boston College (5-22, 0-11) for a three-game series beginning at 2:30 p.m. today.
Slaton lacks plus power but uses all fields with a line-drive approach, which Leggett favors in college baseball’s dead ball era. Slaton also does not strike out often and has a bit of speed. His emergence has allowed Leggett to experiment with dropping College of Charleston transfer Thomas Brittle down in the order.
It is important Clemson improve its margin for error as its weekend starters have faltered at times in recent weeks.
No. 1 starter Daniel Gossett allowed 10 hits and eight runs against North Carolina on Friday. Saturday starter Clate Schmidt is going through a normal freshman adjustment period and fellow freshman Zach Erwin was effective in relief of Schmidt at Chapel Hill, allowing just three runs over six innings. Erwin could challenge for weekend rotation spot. Scott Firth has been inconsistent and was replaced by freshman lefty Matthew Crownover in the weekend rotation against the Tar Heels. Crownover will again start on Sunday.
Clemsonis in second place in the ACC Atlantic Division, trailing Florida State (8-4) by two games. Clemson is tied with Duke for the sixth best overall record in the ACC, the top eight teams will play in the ACC Tournament in Durham in May.