For both the Southern and UNO baseball teams, their most recent conference series was their best of the season.
They’ll take a break from the stretch run in conference play to take the measure of each other at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Lee-Hines Field.
The Privateers (24-15) are coming off their first three-game Southland sweep since joining the conference in 2014. That come at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi over the weekend and extended their winning streak to six games overall.
The Jaguars (12-24) lost two of three in a nonconference series at No. 23 South Alabama last weekend, but in their last Southwestern Athletic Conference series, they swept Prairie View to strengthen their standing for a berth in the conference tournament. They have a 2½-game lead on the Panthers for the last spot with six to play.
Southern overcame a 4-1 deficit by scoring four ninth-inning runs to beat South Alabama 5-4 in the series opener Friday before losing 12-2 and 7-1.
“This team has shown an ability to fight and not give up,” Jaguars coach Roger Cador said Monday. “You talk about having pride and playing hard and never giving up. I think we’ve been watering that seed and it’s starting to sprout up.”
The outcome Tuesday won’t affect either team’s conference tournament circumstances, but the game is an opportunity for both to stay sharp.
“It’s a huge weekend coming up,” Cador said of the trip to Arkansas-Pine Bluff. “If we don’t do well, we could be back in last place. So everything in the midweek is a tune-up for the weekend.”
Toward that end, Cador plans to use several pitchers, starting with Harold Myles (1-6, 9.36 ERA) or Joseph Sanchez (0-0, 10.26). If Sanchez were to start, he’d likely go two innings. Myles, Southern’s regular midweek starter, could go a bit longer.
UNO used seven pitchers to sweep a Saturday doubleheader and improve to 9-9 in the Southland, tied for sixth.
“I would like to have saved a little bit of pitching for midweek games, but conference series are a must,” said Privateers coach Blake Dean, whose team hosts Southern Miss on Wednesday before returning to Southland play with a home series this weekend against Central Arkansas.
UNO scored 10 second-inning runs and beat Southern 14-4 in a game shortened to 6½ innings by the mercy rule March 8 at Maestri Field.