Wind proved to be more of a factor in the Bucs’ 5-4 loss to the Spartans at Thomas Stadium.
UNC Greensboro scored four runs in the seventh inning when three fly balls went over the heads of ETSU outfielders. Those proved to be the difference in the game, as the Spartans scored a series sweep.
Overall, the teams matched each other with 10 hits apiece.
The Spartans improved to 29-15 overall and 10-7 in the Southern Conference. After a red-hot start to the season, the Bucs (28-17, 7-10) have now lost seven of their last eight games.
ETSU’s Daniel Sweeney, a 6-foot-5 senior pitcher, scattered six hits and gave up just one run over the first six innings. The right-hander, who attended Science Hill High School, gave up two more runs in the top of the seventh before being pulled with the game tied at 3 apiece.
Daulton Montagna (1-2) came in and retired one batter before giving up the deciding runs to suffer the loss.
David Beam led the Bucs offensively, going 4-for-4 with a run scored. Ethan Cady was 2-for-3, while Noah Hill drove in two runs and Cullen Smith had a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning for the final score.
UNC Greensboro struck first when Ryan Caveness grounded into a double play, but Zach Kuchmaner scored in the second inning.
Trailing in the fifth, the Bucs pulled ahead 2-1 with Hill’s two-run single to score Jake Lyle and Cady.
Colby Emmertz had a sacrifice fly in the sixth to plate Beam and extend it to a 3-1 advantage.
The Spartans answered with four runs in the seventh with a two-run single by Zack Budzik and RBI doubles by Austin Embler and Caleb Webster. In all three cases with the wind blowing hard against the flag in right center field, the balls were hit over the heads of ETSU outfielders.
Smith launched a shot over the right-field fence for the final run.
Budzik was the only UNC Greensboro player with multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs. However, eight of the nine starters in the UNCG lineup had hits and five of them went for extra bases.
Jake Mayhew got the start for the Spartans, striking out five and giving up three hits and two runs over 4 1/3 innings. Corey Jackson (7-1) was credited with the win. UNCG closer Chad Sykes, who leads the nation in ERA (0.58), kept ETSU at bay for the final two innings to earn his ninth save
ETSU left 11 runners stranded and hit just 1 of 10 with runners in scoring position.
Next up for the Bucs will be a familiar face as they head to Charleston, S.C., for a three-game series with The Citadel, which is coached by former ETSU skipper Tony Skole.