CLEMSON -- When examining the center of Clemson's lineup, one would not suspect run production to be a problem.
Kyle Parker is red-hot, smashing his team-best 11th home run Wednesday. Batting ahead of Parker is Jeff Schaus, a proven offensive threat and fellow pro baseball prospect.
But during the Tigers' skid, losing five of their last six games, Clemson bats have gone quiet in critical situations. Against Coastal Carolina on Wednesday, Clemson produced just five hits and left 10 runners stranded. In two losses at Virginia last weekend, Clemson left 19 runners on base.
Clemson coach Jack Leggett is hoping the Tigers reverse their fortunes at 6:30 p.m. today in the opener of a three-game home series against Boston College. While the No. 16 Tigers (18-7, 7-2 ACC) are slumping, they remain a game ahead of Florida State in the Atlantic Division.
"We've got some opportunities," Leggett said. "We have to get a big hit in crucial situations and we haven't done that."
Of Clemson's seven losses, six have come by two runs or less, and four by one run or less.
Have the Tigers' clutch offensive woes become psychological? A contagious ailment spread throughout the team?
"I guess so," Leggett said.
The Tigers' margin for error has been thin in recent weeks while the offense has struggled, and the defense has not helped matters.
The Tigers have already made 50 errors, averaging two errors per game for a .950 fielding percentage. For context, the Tigers committed 84 errors in 66 games last season.
And the Tigers don't possess a stable of power-armed strikeout pitchers who can overcome extra outs.
Leggett said he has "no idea" of the source of the defensive woes.
"We work harder on (defense) than anyone in the country," Leggett said. "We work on fundamentals. We take more repetitions than anybody. We are either not playing well or we are not concentrating well enough."
The good news for the Tigers is they meet a struggling Boston College team this week. The Eagles are 3-6 in the ACC and 11-13 overall. And despite their recent struggles, the Tigers still rank No. 7 in simulated RPI.
But for that lofty status to remain intact the Tigers will more critical wins and more critical hits.