Barnes drove the first offering from UNO's Ben Brown over the center field wall to put Pitt State (4-5, 1-5 MIAA) in front against UNO (6-3, 4-2 MIAA).
Taylor Sibala singled through the left side of the infield to start Pitt State's big inning. He advanced all the way to third base on Jeremy Graves' perfectly executed hit-and-run single to set up Barnes dramatic shot – his team-leading third homer of the season.
Barnes added a run-scoring fielder's choice in the sixth inning that had staked Pitt State to a 2-1 lead.
Pitt State starter Scott Brady pitched seven solid innings, allowing five hits and two earned runs, while striking out nine batters. Caleb Palensky hit a solo homer off Brady in the seventh inning to foil his bid for the win.
Brad Phillips (1-0) got the win, inducing Mark Waldron to hit into a 6-4-3 double play after inheriting a two-one, one-out situation in the eighth.
Jake Kraft picked up the save for the Gorillas but not without some dramatics. He surrendered a run on Brady Hohl's double and loaded the bases with two outs before getting Colby McCord to fly out to deep left field to end the contest.
In the opener, the Mavs used a seven-run third inning to overcome an early 2-1 deficit. UNO pounded out 19 hits in the contest and Pitt State committed three fielding errors.
Jeremy Graves went 2-for-4 with three RBIs for Pitt State.
The two teams will return to Al Ortolani Field Saturday (Mar. 12) to complete their four-game MIAA series with a 1 p.m. doubleheader.