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CSN sees season end in NJCAA World Series: ‘I couldn’t be more proud’

The College of Southern Nevada’s baseball team played eight strong innings Wednesday. It was the other inning that killed it.

Eighth-seeded Florence-Darlington Tech (South Carolina) scored five runs in the sixth inning and held on for a 6-4 victory over the Coyotes in the quarterfinals of the National Junior College Athletic Association World Series at Grand Junction, Colorado. The ninth-seeded Coyotes’ season came to an end with the loss.

“It’s tough,” CSN coach Nick Garritano said. “Sports are cruel. It’s unfortunate that someone’s got to lose. On Saturday, someone’s got to lose (the championship game). There’s only one team smiling at the end of the year.”

CSN (53-12) lost to Florence-Darlington Tech (54-11) for the second time in three days. The Coyotes lost a 9-8 heartbreaker to the Stingers on Monday.

CSN scored a run in the bottom of the first inning Wednesday, but Florence-Darlington Tech tied the game in the top of the second. The Coyotes then put together a two-out rally in the fourth. Tyman Long scored on a wild pitch and Kaiden Smaka stole home to put CSN up 3-1.

The inning was still a missed opportunity for the Coyotes. They left the bases loaded.

CSN’s lead didn’t last long. Florence-Darlington Tech sent nine batters to the plate in the sixth. Jackson Proctor belted a two-run homer to center field off Coyotes pitcher Logan Smith to give the Stingers a 6-3 lead.

“It sucks to lose,” said CSN starter Lucas Boesen, who allowed a two-run home run to Ethan Plyler in the sixth before being lifted. “Especially when I know I had a part in it. The offense gave me the lead and I couldn’t hold it. I wish I could have gotten it done.”

The Coyotes got a run back in the seventh, but were unable to mount a late rally as they did in Tuesday’s 7-6 victory over Crowder College (Missouri). CSN left nine runners on base in the loss.

Garritano said he finished the season with no regrets.

“Tomorrow on that bus ride back home, these guys will realize what they’ve accomplished,” Garritano said. “I couldn’t be more proud.”

Ashton Zacher and Smaka had doubles for the Coyotes, who were held to six hits in the game. Reliever Marcus Locklear (1-0) earned the victory for the Stingers. Boesen (0-1) suffered the loss.

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

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