OREM, Utah — It was a battle of the best in the Pioneer League.
The first-half champions of the North in the Missoula Osprey made several errors against the first-half champions of the South in the Orem Owlz, falling 4-2 in the first game back since the All-Star break.
The wheels came off the cart in the eighth inning, as the Osprey allowed the Owlz to take their first lead of the game after committing four throwing errors.
To start the bottom of the eighth, Orem's Stephen Kerr reached first base and rounded to second after a Joey Rose throwing error. With the go-ahead run on first base, Kerr crossed home plate to tie two at bats later. On that play, the O's made not one but two throwing errors by Gabriel Maciel and Francis Martinez.
Torii Hunter Jr. crossed home plate to take the lead for Orem off an Angel Molina sacrifice fly to center field.
On the next plate appearance by Keinner Pina, Cole Stapler attempted to pick off Orem's Ryan Vega at first base. Stapler's throw went awry and Vega made it to third before being cut off. Pina eventually singled, bringing Vega home to elevate the score 4-2.
The loss brings Missoula to 0-2 to start the second half and drops the O's to 5-9 in series openers this season.
In Missoula's first trip to Orem this season, the Osprey hopped out to an early 2-0 lead. Brandon Leyton tripled to center field to lead off the third inning and Maciel singled to bring Leyton home. On the next plate appearance, Eduardo Diaz was hit by a pitch and eventually scored off an Andy Yerzy single to take the 2-0 lead.
Orem chipped away at the lead in the bottom of the frame. In the lead-off spot, Kerr walked. Hunter followed up with a single, advancing Kerr to third. Brandon Marsh smacked a sacrifice fly to right field to bring Kerr home to bring Missoula's lead to 2-1.
Missoula continues the four-game series at Orem at 7:05 p.m. Friday.