East Tennessee State (23-31) advances to Friday's 10 am loser's bracket quarterfinal game against the loser of tonight's Georgia Southern-UNCG game. Furman (30-25) is eliminated from the tournament after posting a school-record 30 wins.
The win marked ETSU's first SoCon Tournament victory since 1999.
Copeland hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first to stake East Tennesseee State to a 1-0 lead. ETSU scored three times in the third to take a 4-0 lead. Copeland and Andy Baxter hit run-scoring singles in the third and Brandon Cross drove in a run with an infield ground out.
The Paladins got on the board in the fourth when Justin Maderer doubled down the left field line and scored on a single by Dominic Frankey that cut the Bucs' lead to 4-1. The Buccaneers added two more runs in the fifth, piecing together a hit, an error and a wild pitch. Cross knocked in one run with an infield single and a second run scored on the wild pitch.
The Bucs closed their scoring with Copeland's two-run homer in the seventh.
ETSU's Matt Nunley went the distance, scattering eight hits and striking out two while not issuing a walk. It was his first complete game of the season as he improved his record to 5-3.
Furman's Tom Mastny (8-5) was saddled with the loss after giving up six runs and five hits in four and one-third innings of work.