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CSN overcomes sloppy defense, advances in NJCAA World Series

Updated May 28, 2024 - 8:20 pm

College of Southern Nevada baseball coach Nick Garritano asked his team for solid fundamentals on Tuesday.

That’s not what he got, but he did get another dramatic victory.

The ninth-seeded Coyotes committed five errors and allowed five unearned runs, but Tyman Long’s ninth-inning single scored Kyle Kiernan from second base, and CSN walked off with a 7-6 losers’ bracket win over No. 5 Crowder College (Missouri) in the National Junior College Athletic Association World Series at Grand Junction, Colorado.

The Coyotes (53-11) will play No. 8 Florence-Darlington (South Carolina) in another elimination game at 1 p.m. Wednesday. Florence-Darlington, which defeated CSN 9-8 on Monday, lost to Blinn 17-7 in five innings Tuesday.

Long, who homered in the 10th inning to beat Northwest Florida 7-6 on Saturday, completed CSN’s three-run, ninth-inning rally Tuesday with a shot through the left side.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence right now,” said Long, who hit his third home run of the tournament in the fourth inning. “I knew when (Crowder reliever Austin Jobe) missed that first slider, he was going to come with a fastball. He got it a little bit up, and I just put a good swing on it.”

Garritano said he was not surprised to see his team overcome an otherwise rough outing.

“Not with this club,” said Garritano, whose squad blew a six-run lead Monday in a 9-8 loss to Florence-Darlington. “We’ve been down before. The only difference today was our season was on the line.”

The Roughriders (49-15) established the tempo early and led until the final inning, scoring an unearned run in the second inning and a run on a Joey Morton double in the third for a 2-0 lead.

Brady Ballinger, Long and Ashton Zacher had RBI hits for the Coyotes, but Crowder scored four more unearned runs in the middle innings and led 6-4 entering the bottom of the ninth.

“We were just sloppy,” Garritano said of his team’s defensive miscues. “That wasn’t good at all. We just made some mistakes, and we were fortunate to get out of this thing with a win.”

Ballinger led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk, Michael Cruz doubled him home, and Garrison Geis tied the score at 6 with a safety bunt. That brought Long to the plate for the game-winning hit.

“Tyman has been locked in,” Garritano said. “It’s like he’s hitting basketballs.”

Kaiden Smaka went 2-for-4 with an RBI for CSN, and reliever Hunter Alberini pitched the ninth to get the victory.

Review-Journal reporter Jeff Wollard can be reached at jwollard@reviewjournal.com.

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