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CSN allows late rally, falls to NJCAA World Series losers bracket

The College of Southern Nevada’s baseball team appeared to have things under control through six innings Monday.

Florence-Darlington Tech (South Carolina) had other plans.

Tyman Long and Jet Gilliam hit home runs to lead CSN, but the Coyotes gave up a six-run lead in the late innings to fall to the Stingers 9-8 in their second-round game of the National Junior College Athletic Association World Series at Grand Junction, Colorado.

The loss dropped the ninth-seeded Coyotes (52-11) to the losers bracket. They will play an elimination game against No. 5 Crowder (Missouri) at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

“It’s tough losing those types of games,” CSN coach Nick Garritano said. “(Florence-Darlington Tech) just did a great job on the offensive side and they kept chipping away. They just kept hitting the ball where we weren’t.”

The eighth-seeded Stingers (53-10) got on the board first with a second-inning solo home run by Zack Hunt off Coyotes starter Naun Haro.

Long, whose 10th-inning homer against Northwest Florida State College lifted the Coyotes to victory Saturday, belted a three-run blast in the third inning to put CSN ahead 3-1.

Florence-Darlington Tech cut its deficit to 3-2 in the fourth. CSN responded by tacking on two more runs in the fifth. The Coyotes then extended their lead to 8-2 in the sixth thanks to a two-run homer by Gilliam and an RBI single by Garrison Geis.

“It was a great feeling to know we had the thing in hand,” Garritano said. “But we did lose some opportunities in the early and middle innings that could have made the difference.”

Haro’s effectiveness on the mound waned in the bottom of the sixth. Florence-Darlington Tech got within 8-5 with the help of a two-run double by Mac James.

A trio of CSN relievers fared no better in the eighth. The Stingers jumped ahead 9-8 with four runs on three hits and an error.

“I’m the head coach and I’ve got to make the right decisions,” Garritano said. “I trust my pitchers, but they’re kids and you’ve got to give credit to a really good team.”

Michael Cruz went 2-for-3 with an RBI to help CSN. Tyler Ray (0-1) suffered the loss.

“Our backs will be against the wall tomorrow,” Garritano said. “So, we’ll see what we’re made of. We’ve been in the losers bracket before and we’re going to play hard for nine innings.”

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