The Gophers baseball team lost its season opener 9-1 to Houston, ranked No.3 by Baseball America, on Friday night at the Cougars' ballpark.
Catcher Ian Rice hit a two-run homer in the first inning for Houston and walked with the bases loaded to make it 3-0 in the fourth. Infielder Chris Iriart hit a solo homer in the fifth. The Cougars added three more runs in the seventh and one in the eighth.
Senior Ben Meyer started for the Gophers but, with his pitch count at 78, went only 3⅔ innings and took the loss. His teammates, who managed only six hits and committed three errors, were shut out until Jordan Smith's RBI double in the ninth.
The East Division-leading Toronto Rock beat the Minnesota Swarm 16-4 at Xcel Energy Center in the first game of a home-and-home series.
The Swarm (3-3) and the Rock (5-1) play again at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Swarm goalie Zach Higgins came into the game leading the National Lacrosse League with a 9.30 goals-against average and an .801 save percentage, but he was replaced midway through the second period with the Swarm down 7-3 after giving up five goals in a row.
U softball sweeps
Sophomore righthander Sara Groenewegen threw a two-hitter and struck out 14 — tying a career high — as the No. 13 Gophers beat Stetson 3-0 on Friday in the first game of a doubleheader in DeLand, Fla., and then hit two homers in a 16-7, five-inning rout in the second game.
The Gophers, 7-0, took a 1-0 lead in the first inning of the opener on Kaitlyn Richardson's RBI single. Tyler Walker's double drove in two more runs in the third.
Groenewegen gave up her first hit with one out in the third, ending a nine-inning hitless stretch for her.
In the second game, the Gophers hit six homers, including three in an eight-run fourth inning. Groenewegen had a three-run homer in the first and a two-run shot in the fifth. Sydney Fabian, Richardson, Hannah Granger and Taylor LeMay also went deep. Stetson (3-3) hit three homers.
• Junior Kimberly Golding broke the Gophers women's track and field program record in the 60-meter hurdles (8.52 seconds), and redshirt sophomore sprinter Erin Hawkins moved into second in team history in the 200-meter dash (24.14) on the first day of the Iowa State Classic. Golding, whose record came in the preliminaries, advanced to Saturday's final; Hawkins won her event.