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ACC Tournament X-Factors: Clemson

via @ClemsonBaseball/X

With less than two weeks remaining until the first pitch of the ACC Tournament, College Baseball Central is breaking down the biggest X-Factor for each team in Charlotte.

Clemson is currently the No. 3 team in the country and the No. 2 team in the ACC standings, meaning they will be highlighted in the second installment of our 12-part series. Also, at the end of each new X-Factor installment, I will try to put a number on the level of concern each situation causes me.

X-Factor: Bullpen

Similarly to last season, the Clemson bullpen has become somewhat of a liability as the season has progressed. Aiden Knaak, Ethan Darden and Tristan Smith have all proven to be high-level starters and can keep the Tigers in most games for an extended period of time.

However, most of the Tigers' problems arise once head coach Erik Bakich is forced to make a call to the bullpen. Of the 10 Clemson relievers that have contributed more than 10 innings of work, not one boasts an ERA lower than 4.00. As a result, the Tigers have allowed a number of offensive outbursts and late-game comebacks, including six opponents scoring eight ore more runs against the Tigers since the beginning of April.

Concern Level: 4 out of 10

My concern level with the Clemson bullpen is considerably higher than the one point I gave the Tar Heels' pitching situation in the first article of this series. But we saw this story from the Tigers' just last season.

Postseason play requires programs to be creative with the way they engineer their rotation and forces a number of relievers to take on an increased role. The lack of depth in the Tigers' bullpen cost them dearly in their regional last season and may come back to hurt them yet again in 2024.

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