GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — The College of Southern Nevada fell to the losers’ bracket of the Junior College World Series, and there was nothing Bryce Harper could do about it in the late innings.
The second-ranked Coyotes dropped a 10-8 contest to No. 1 San Jacinto (Texas) in a matchup of the top two teams in the country, and the 17-year-old phenom was ejected in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Harper, the likely top pick in next week’s Major League Baseball draft, was thrown out after protesting a called third strike that appeared to be well outside.
Harper took his first stride back toward the dugout, but paused to draw a line in the dirt to indicate to the umpire just how far outside the strike zone the ball traveled.
Don Gilmore immediately motioned an ejection, prompting a chaotic celebration in the Gators’ dugout.
Under NJCAA rules, Harper will be ineligible to play tomorrow in a 2 p.m. elimination game against Iowa Western. Should CSN win, he will also have to sit out the following game because of a suspension earlier this season.
The Coyotes put two runners on base with two outs in the ninth, but Gabe Weidenaar struck out looking to end the game.
San Jacinto scored four runs in both the first and third innings and built an early 8-5 lead. CSN was able to cut the deficit to 9-8 with three runs in the bottom of the sixth, but Clay Schrader closed the game with 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Schrader struck out eight and allowed just two hits.
The Coyotes had two on with one out in a one-run game in the bottom of the seventh after a pair of walks, but Schrader struck out Scott Dysinger and Gabe Weidenaar to get out of the jam.
San Jacinto tacked on an insurance run in the eighth on a two-out wild pitch after a sky-high popup dropped to the field between home plate and the pitcher’s mound, allowing the runners to move up to second and third.
The batter was out on the infield fly rule, but the runners can still advance if the ball is not caught.
The Gators gave up an early lead to the Coyotes, but rallied again to regain the lead with four runs in the top of the third inning.
Daniel Higa belted a three-run homer to left field to give the Coyotes their first lead, though short-lived, in the second inning after the Gators scored four in the top of the first. Trent Cook hit a two-run shot in the first to get CSN on the board.
A contentious moment had already taken place early on as Harper stepped on the lower leg of Gators first baseman Deric Hawkins, who was trying to take a throw to complete a double play in the first inning.
After some shouting between Harper and several San Jacinto players and coaches, order was restored.