GREENVILLE, S.C. – UNC Greensboro scored two runs on four hits in the home half of the seventh inning, but it was not enough to offset a three-run fifth inning by East Tennessee State, which earned the 4-2 victory in the opening round of the Southern Conference Tournament held at Fluor Field on Wednesday, May 22.
After a home run to left by Jake Lyle extended the ETSU lead to 4-0 in the top of the seventh, UNCG (33-19) answered with two runs in the home half of the frame. Ryan Caveness kept the inning alive with a two-out single up the middle and quickly moved to third on a double off the left field wall by Josh Madole.
Jacquez Koonce had the third straight hit for the Spartans, a single up the middle, plating both Madole and Caveness to make for the 4-2 lead. Zack Budzik sent a single into left field, advancing Koonce to second, but a grounder ended the scoring threat for UNCG.
ETSU (33-19) broke a scoreless tie in the top of the fifth when David Beam led off the frame with a double down the left field line. Ethan Cady followed with a walk, putting Beam in scoring position, before a single up the middle by Jake Lyle plated Cady for the 1-0 Buc lead.
Colby Emmertz dropped a single into left field, moving Cady home from third, to give ETSU the 2-0 advantage. Markell Graham quickly scored Emmertz from third on the slide to make for the third Bucs’ run of the inning.
Koonce was one of six hitters in the Spartan lineup with at least one hit, including Madole (1-4) and Caleb Webster (1-4), who had a double each. UNCG also received one hit from Budzik (1-2), Caveness (1-4) and Austin Embler (1-4).
Austin Koehn (4-3) tossed the first 4.1 innings of the game for the Spartans, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out four ETSU hitters. He gave way to Corey Jackson, who struck out six batters and scattered two hits over the final 4.2 innings of the game.
Micah Kaczor (7-2) was instrumental in the ETSU victory, allowing six hits and two runs over 6.2 innings, while striking out 10 Spartan hitters. Teammate Natanial Tate (S, 3) tossed the final 2.1 innings, converting three strikeouts.
UNCG returns to action at Fluor Field on Thursday, May 23 at 12:30 p.m. when it will take on the loser of the Wofford / VMI game.
SoCON TOURNAMENT GAME 1 NOTES (vs. ETSU)
-UNCG is 0-2 in neutral site games this season.
-Spartans are now 7-9 under the direction of head coach Link Jarrett in SoCon Tournament games, 1-1 when playing ETSU with Jarrett at the helm.
-UNCG is now 3-1 against ETSU this season, winning five of its last seven games dating back to April 1, 2017.
-Corey Jackson finished off his third six-strikeout performance of the season. His previous two six K performances came at High Point (Feb. 19) and VMI (May 10). He now leads the team with 70 K’s on the season.
-The six hits by the Spartans marked the fewest since they recorded two in the second game of a doubleheader at Samford (April 20).
-Austin Koehn did not reach the five-strikeout mark for the first time in his last eight contests.
-Zack Budzik extends his hitting streak to 15 games, tying the team-best season-long hitting streaks by Coleman Sawyer and Josh Madole with a single through the left side of the infield in the seventh inning.