The Buccaneers, who scored 13 runs and pounded out 27 hits in the first two games, were frustrated by UIC’s Mike McKinley on Sunday. McKinley (3-2) pitched a gem, allowing just two runs on four hits and no walks in his 8 1-3 innings.
Despite the lack of offense, the Bucs (27-20) had a chance to tie or win it in the ninth.
Andrew Lasure led off the final frame with a pinch-hit single, followed by a base hit from Derek Niesman. Chris Riopedre hit a sacrifice fly to pull the Bucs to within a run and Tyler Roach walked to put runners on first and second before reliever Joey Begel got Jeremy Taylor to strike out swinging to end the game.
Alex Grunenwald was 2-for-2 with a double and two RBIs and Alex Jurich doubled and tripled to lead the Flames (21-24).
ETSU center fielder Andrew Green extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a double in the fourth. He scored on a throwing error for the Bucs’ first run.
Rice (5-2) gave up seven hits and three walks with two strikeouts.
The Bucs host UNC Asheville on Wednesday night at Thomas Stadium. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.