JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (May 3, 2019) – ETSU baseball saw a two run lead slip in a sloppy, five-run fifth inning as UNC Greensboro took the series opener by a final of 7-4 in Johnson City on Friday afternoon.
With the win, UNCG (27-15, 9-7) widens their lead for fourth place in the conference standings to 1.5 games. ETSU falls below .500 in SoCon play for the first time this season with a 28-15 overall record and 7-8 mark in conference play.
Despite only allowing two earned runs, ETSU committed three errors on the day to give up five unearned. Senior Micah Kaczor (Washington, D.C.) was tagged with his first loss of the season in 12 starts. Kaczor (5-1) gave up seven runs, but only two earned, in 7.2 innings.
The win went to UNCG’s Corey Jackson in relief, entering for the fifth inning with a 6-3 lead. The save was credited to the nation’s ERA leader Chad Sykes (0.61) for his eighth of the year.
Despite the loss, ETSU had 10 hits on the day to UNCG’s seven. Junior catcher Jackson Greer (Knoxville) led the Bucs with a 3-for-5 day at the plate, including a seventh inning solo homer that brought ETSU within two runs late in the game.
Junior Cade Gilbert (Ringgold, Ga.) had two hits, including a double, while sophomore David Beam (Knoxville) went 1-for-3 with an RBI double and a sacrifice fly to drive home two runs.
After UNCG struck for a run off a leadoff double and two sac hits to move the runner home, the Bucs shifted momentum back with two of their own. Junior Noah Hill (Ringgold, Ga.) scored from second base on a throwing error and Beam’s double brought home Gilbert for the lead.
ETSU added one more in the third to extend its lead to 3-1 off Beam’s sac fly to deep centerfield.
Kaczor had retired 13 straight hitters after giving up the leadoff double, but UNCG spoiled things in the fifth. Four singles, two of which came on well-placed bunts, allowed for base runners, while two throwing mistakes prolonged the inning and helped give UNCG the lead.
Greer’s homer following the stretch was not enough to spark a comeback, as UNCG added its final blow in the eighth inning on a sacrifice fly. A passed ball allowing the advancement made the run unearned.
ETSU and UNCG will pick things up tomorrow at 11 a.m. inside Thomas Stadium, as potential weather threats are expected later in the day. Stay tuned on social media for updates.
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