ETSU got just enough offense to go along with some dominating pitching from Kaczor to post a 4-2 victory over UNC Greensboro in the first round of the Southern Conference baseball tournament Wednesday at Fluor Field.
ETSU (33-19) advanced to the winner’s bracket, where it will face the winner of Wednesday’s late game between Wofford and VMI on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
UNCG (33-18) will face the loser of that game in an elimination contest at 12:30 p.m.
Kaczor (7-2) allowed a first-inning double to Caleb Webster and then shut down third-seeded UNCG for the next five innings.
The sixth-seeded Bucs didn’t get their first hit off of UNCG starter Austin Koehn until the top of the fifth inning, and when they did, they made it count.
David Beam doubled to lead off the inning and Ethan Cady followed with a walk. One out later, Jake Lyle laced a single up the middle to score Beam.
Colby Emmertz followed with an RBI single of his own and a 2-0 lead.
ETSU made it 3-0 when Markell Graham laid down a bunt and the Spartans couldn’t get anybody out while Lyle scored.
Lyle led off the top of the seventh inning with a solo home run to make it 4-0. It was his third home run of the season.
The Spartans finally got to Kaczor in the seventh. After UNCG got a single and a double to put runners on second and third with two outs, Kaczor worked a full count to Jacquez Koonce, who singled up the middle to drive in a pair of runs.
Kaczor didn’t make it out of the inning, having thrown 105 pitches. He allowed six hits in 6 2/3 innings — four of them in the seventh — while striking out 10 batters and walking none.
Nathaniel Tate came on in relief and got out of the jam, leaving ETSU on top 4-2.
Tate issued a walk in the eighth, but struck out the next three batters. He also worked a perfect ninth to earn his third save.
Tate, a freshman righty, lowered his ERA to 1.32.
UNCG had swept a three-game series from ETSU during the regular season.