Tigers Swept by No. 4 Tar Heels

CLEMSON – Only one other time in the 111 year history of the Clemson baseball program has it experienced something as painful as this. And no one exemplifies those struggles more than veteran shortstop Stan Widmann.

With No. 3 North Carolina's 8-4 victory over the Tigers Sunday afternoon at a full Doug Kingsmore Stadium, it marked the a three-game sweep by the Tar Heels and the ninth straight loss for Clemson, which has happened only one other time in school history, in 1919.

To put it in perspective, that's the same year World War I ended.

"Everything we're doing is coming back to haunt us," Clemson head coach Jack Leggett said. "We're not getting any breaks with anything."

Widmann, a redshirt junior, who has been a starter on two super regional teams and one College World Series team, is mired in a 5-for-43 slump. He went hitless on Sunday.

Not to single him out, because nearly the entire team is faltering, but he is the old man on the team and one that all the 19 freshmen and sophomores look to for guidance. And it just goes to show that if it can happen to him, nobody on the team is safe from a slump.

"Everybody is (pressing)," he said. "I'm really kind of clueless right now. I'm trying new things and they're not working."

Right now, the entire team seems to be that way. Nary a person or coach can figure out why the team is losing the way it is, other than the fact that the Tigers (18-17, 6-12 ACC) have played three games against the No. 2 team in the country, three more against the No. 3 team and one against the No. 9 team.

"It's kind of like a snowball effect," said senior catcher Doug Hogan. "Anything is possible in baseball, but it's not something you want to be a part of."

Again, it's not just the hitting that has struggled, even though the Tigers entered the weekend series against North Carolina (29-7, 13-4 ACC) 10th in the league in batting average at .287 and last in runs scored with 200.

Clemson is in the bottom half of the league in fielding and committed four errors over the weekend against the Tar Heels. The Tigers also entered the weekend eighth in the league in ERA at 4.67.

"There's really no explanation," said Sunday starting pitcher Ryan Hinson, who dropped to 2-5 on the season after allowing five runs, four of them earned, in five innings. "None of us have ever been through anything like this in college or high school. … We're just getting bad breaks."

Clemson is looking for a win in any way, shape or form and it will get its chance to end the losing streak Tuesday night when it hosts Western Carolina, ironically the team Leggett coached prior to joining the Tigers.

Clemson has lost 10 games in a row before, but never in the same season. The Tigers lost the last game in 1918 before losing their first nine the following year.

And this isn't going to be an easy win. The Catamounts had won 9-of-10 before getting swept in three games this weekend by Elon.

"I've had some tough loses and situations over my 30 years of coaching, but I haven't been in a situation where we're a pitch away or a hit away (from winning)," Leggett said. "We're not going to be able to rely on anybody else to dig our way out of this. We're going to have to do it ourselves.

"It's been a little while since we've walked off the field feeling good."

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