The Gophers hit five home runs in beating Illinois 8-3 on Friday in their “home” softball opener.
The game was actually played at the University of St. Thomas because of better field conditions there than at on-campus Jane Cowles Stadium. No. 15 Minnesota (25-4, 3-1) adjusted well to the new venue, taking a 5-0 lead in the first on homers by Sara Gronewegen, Bree Blanchette and Hannah Granger. Taylor LeMay and Kaitlyn Richardson hit homers in the late innings.
Sarah Moulton (17-3) got the victory over the Illini (16-11, 2-2), allowing only two earned runs and striking out 10 in 6⅔ innings. The teams will play a doubleheader at 11 a.m. Saturday on the same field.
• The Gophers finished fifth in the Big Ten men’s gymnastics meet in Lincoln, Neb., with a score of 429.40. Junior Ellis Mannon placed sixth in the all-around. The conference champions in the individual events will be decided Saturday.
• Freshman Jakub Maly of the Gophers placed 15th in the 400-yard individual medley (3:46.97) in the NCAA men’s swimming and diving championships in Austin, Texas. The 200 medley relay was 18th (1:26.12) in the preliminaries, missing the consolation finals by two spots.
• The Gophers women’s golf team was tied for fourth in the 15-team Mountain View Collegiate tournament in Tucson, Ariz., with a first-round total of 293. Gonzaga was first at 289, followed by Nebraska at 291 and Kent State at 292. Carmen Laguna and Emie Peronnin each shot 72s to lead Minnesota.
• The visiting Gophers lost 6-1 to Purdue in men’s tennis. Leandro Toledo beat Szymon Tatarczyk 6-4, 3-6, 10-1 at No. 1 singles for Minnesota’s point.