The UNO baseball team dropped its third straight two-run game Sunday as McNeese State completed a Southland Conference series sweep with an 8-6 victory at Maestri Field.
The Privateers (11-32, 2-22) suffered their sixth straight loss — which have been by a combined 13 runs.
“We make some critical mistakes, and they come back to bite us,” coach Ron Maestri said.
McNeese (27-21, 16-8) prevailed 10-8 in 14 innings Saturday afternoon after taking Friday’s series opener 5-3.
The Privateers made a game of it in the ninth inning. With their team trailing 8-5, Jonathan Santana singled and Andre Damiens doubled to open the inning against McNeese’s Cole Prejean. After pinch hitter Morgan Barger struck out, Michael Cusimano hit a sacrifice fly that scored Santana. But Dane Landry lined out to center field on a 2-0 count to end the game.
The teams traded blows most of the way, usually responding to the other’s scores in the next half-inning.
With McNeese ahead 2-1 after two innings, UNO grabbed a 3-2 lead when Damiens drove home a pair with a single. But the Cowboys loaded the bases in the fourth and scored three runs on a walk, a hit batter and a passed ball — all with two outs — to take a 5-3 lead.
They added two more runs in the sixth as the bottom of the lineup did most of the damage: James Cantu, Hans Ask and Cameron Toole were a combined 6-for-15 with four runs.
UNO made it 7-5 in its half of the sixth on an RBI single by Reese Kanter and a double by Sam Capielano.
The Privateers had a chance to get closer in the seventh with Damiens at third base and one out with Cusimano batting. Maestri opted for a suicide squeeze, but Cusimano was unable to bunt the ball past the dirt in front of home plate. Catcher Cameron Toole scooped it up to easily tag out Damiens.
“Those kind of things are critical,” Maestri said. “You get the bunt down, we get a run and still have a runner on base and a chance to do something else.”
McNeese’s Bryce Kingsley (4-3) earned the win, allowing five runs (four earned) and nine hits in 5.2 innings. Prejean posted his first save.
UNO’s Daniel Martinez (0-1) took the loss, surrendering five runs (four earned) in 3.2 innings. Capielano and Damiens each were 3-for-5.
“Today we had six freshmen, and they’ve got to learn how to compete, but we’re going to stay with them and I’d like to finish up on a good note,” Maestri said.
UNO opens a three-game Southland series at Northwestern State at 6:30 p.m. Friday.