UNO defeated Southern 4-1 on Saturday night at Maestri Field, giving the Privateers their their third straight win after they had opened the season on a three-game losing streak.
Alex Smith pitched five strong innings for the Privateers to earn the win, giving up just one unearned run while walking four and striking out four.
“We had so many opportunities to win, and we just couldn’t do it,” Southern coach Roger Cador said. “We were trying to do way too much. (Our batters) wanted to hit the ball so far with some of the swings they took, and it hurt us.”
UNO struck first in the bottom of the second inning when Jonathan Santana crushed a two-run homer over the right-field fence to score Jonathan Coco, who had walked the previous at-bat.
The Privateers tacked on another run in the third inning as Coco singled to score Sam Carriere to make it 3-0. Carriere had advanced to second base on a balk, allowing Coco to bring him home.
The score held until the fifth inning. Southern’s Lance Jones reached on an infield single, then advanced to third on a two-base error on a botched pickoff attempt by Alex Smith.
Marcus Tomlin singled Jones in to put the Jaguars on the board 3-1.
UNO threatened to break the game open by loading the bases with two outs in the sixth inning, but Tyler Robinson retired Chaz Boyer to keep it a two-run game.
Southern got a chance to tie the score with runners on first and third and one out in the seventh. After a bunt attempt failed to score a run, new Privateers pitcher Ray Veit induced a soft liner off the bat of Tomlin, which Coco caught to preserve the lead.
“We were trying to get a safety squeeze down and it didn’t work,” Cador said. “He bunted it back to the pitcher, but that happens. ... You win some, you lose some.”
UNO then added a valuable insurance run on Santana’s double into the left-center gap to score a Coco and make it a 4-1 game.
Seth Laigast earn the save by pitching hitless relief, retiring eight of the nine batters he faced.
UNO will face Grambling at Maestri Field at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Southern will take on Alcorn State at at 1 p.m. Sunday at Wesley Barrow Stadium.