GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNC Greensboro baseball begins its quest for the second Southern Conference tournament crown in program history on Wednesday, May 22, when the Spartans face off against East Tennessee State at 4 p.m. in Greenville, S.C. at Fluor Field.
The Spartans, who closed out the regular season with a 33-18 mark and were 14-10 in league play, earned the No. 3 seed in the SoCon Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases. ETSU, the No. 6 seed heading into the postseason, finished 32-19 overall and 11-12 in SoCon action.
The two teams met in the first weekend of May, with UNCG sweeping the series in Johnson City, Tenn. The Spartans ended the three-game series with 12 extra-base hits (11 doubles, home run) and 24 hits offensively. Meanwhile, the UNCG pitching staff finished with a combined 3.00 ERA, limited the Bucs to five doubles and two home runs, while striking out 25 hitters over the course of the weekend.
UNCG, which enjoyed its fourth straight 30-win season under head coach Link Jarrett, has met ETSU one time (May 26, 2017) in the SoCon Tournament in Jarrett’s tenure.
The Spartans will send freshman pitcher Austin Koehn (4-2, 3.33 ERA) to the mound in the opening game. Koehn is coming off a six-strikeout performance against Wofford on May 16 where he and teammate Chad Sykes limited the Terriers to one hit in a 1-0 UNCG victory.
Koehn, who earned SoCon Pitcher of the Week honors on Sunday following the outing against Wofford, has recorded at least five strikeouts in his last eight appearances for the Spartans, dating back to a five-strikeout performance against Western Carolina on March 31st. Six of those games, including outings against Furman (April 7), George Mason (April 14), Samford (April 20), The Citadel (April 27) and Wofford (May 16), resulted in six strikeouts for Koehn.
ETSU will send senior right-hander Micah Kaczor (6-2, 1.94 ERA) to the mound on Wednesday afternoon. Kaczor made 14 starts over the course of the season for the Bucs, earning three victories in league play against VMI (April 5), Wofford (April 18) and The Citadel (May 10). Kaczor faced off against UNCG in the May 3 contest, allowing seven hits, seven runs and two doubles.
UNCG SoCon Tournament Quick Notes
-UNCG has six representatives named to the All-Southern Conference team, including Zack Budzik, Greg Hardison, Austin Koehn, Chad Sykes, Caleb Webster and Hogan Windish. Among those six, Budzik, Sykes and Windish received multiple honors from both the league’s baseball coaches and media contingency.
-UNCG, which has had four straight 30-win seasons under Jarrett, had not enjoyed a span of four straight 30-win seasons since 2000-05, when the Spartans rattled off six straight 30-win seasons under then head coach Mike Gaski. Jarrett, who took over the program prior to the start of the 2013 season, is the only skipper in program history to guide UNCG to at least 35 wins in three straight seasons—a feat accomplished between 2016-18, when the Spartans won 38, 36 and 39 games in succession.
-After finishing off the 2019 regular season with a 33-18 mark, winning 14 games in Southern Conference action, the UNCG baseball team will head into SoCon Tournament as the No. 3 seed. UNCG is 7-8 under head coach Link Jarrett all-time in the SoCon Tournament and has one win over the Bucs (6-4 / May 26, 2017), entering their sixth league tournament in his tenure as coach.
-UNCG freshman hurler Austin Koehn, who limited league foe Wofford to a .043 batting average and one hit in a 1-0 victory on Thursday, May 16th, received Southern Conference Pitcher of the Week honors the league announced on Sunday. Koehn becomes the third Spartan, along with Zack Budzik and Austin Embler, to earn weekly honors from the Southern Conference this season.
-The UNCG hitting tandem of Zack Budzik and Caleb Webster, who patrol the left side of the Spartan infield as the shortstop of third baseman, respectively, own the two longest current hitting streaks on the team.
Budzik, after finishing the weekend with a hit in each of the three games against Wofford, extended his streak to 14 games to mark the second-longest streak by a UNCG hitter this season. Meanwhile, Webster has reached base via a hit in his last eight straight contests—his longest hitting streak of the season.