The loss also denied ORU an opportunity at its 12th straight outright Summit League regular season title. The Golden Eagles can still share the championship, pending the outcome of the South Dakota State-Western Illinois series.
Sloppy defense and a lack of clutch hitting did in the Golden Eagles (32-25, 19-9), and it started early. After NDSU’s Tim Jallen led off the game with a single, ORU shortstopTyler Saladino muffed a sure double play ball. Zach Wentz followed the miscue with a three-run homer as the Bison grabbed a 3-0 lead.
Nick Baligod plated Tyler Garewal with a single in the bottom of the first as ORU closed to within 3-1, but the Bison picked up another unearned run in the top of the second. ORU starting pitcher Mark Guest (2-4) dropped a toss from first baseman P.J. Sequeira on a bunt attempt by Max Casper to start the inning. Casper later moved to second on an errant pickoff play by Guest and eventually scored on a single by Wentz for a 4-1 NDSU lead.
North Dakota State (22-30, 11-16) made it 7-1 with three runs in the fifth, thanks in part to two more ORU errors. Sean Johnson, who relieved Guest to start the third, walked the lead-off batter then threw wildly to first on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Eric Nutzhorn, putting runners at second and third with no out. Michael Riewer singled in the first run for a 5-1 lead.
The Golden Eagles got a run back in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI single by Saladino to make it 7-2. Riewer belted a solo home run in the seventh to make it 8-2, and ORU scratched across its final run in the seventh when Barbosa scored on a wild pitch.
ORU managed 10 hits but was just 5-for-20 with runners in scoring position and went hitless in run-scoring opportunities with two outs. Garewal and Brett Sowers had a pair of hits to lead ORU at the plate.
Guest suffered the loss after allowing four runs (two earned) in two innings.
Colby Tognetti (3-2) picked up the win with 2.0 innings of shutout relief.
The Golden Eagles next take to the field Thursday in the opening round of the Currington Mortgage Summit League Tournament at J.L. Johnson Stadium. ORU will face Centenary at 7 p.m. and South Dakota State will battle with Oakland in the opener at 3 p.m.