The No. 13-rated Gophers softball team stayed unbeaten Saturday, winning twice in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge in Raleigh, N.C. The first game went extra innings, the second ended in five in a rout.
Dani Wagner's RBI single in the bottom of the eighth gave Minnesota a 3-2 opening victory over Notre Dame. After falling behind 2-0, Minnesota tied the score on Kendyl Lindaman's homer and Sara Groenewegen's sacrifice fly.
Groenewegen also pitched three scoreless innings in relief of Tori Finucane, who allowed one earned run in five innings, to get the victory.
In the second game, the Gophers took an 8-0 lead in the top of the first and crushed host North Carolina State 11-0. Sam Macken had a homer and two doubles for five RBI. Minnesota improved to 8-0, tying the program record for the best start to a season.
Wagner had a homer and Sydney Dwyer two doubles in the game. Amber Fiser pitched the first four innings for the win.
U swimmers fourth
Senior Kierra Smith of the Gophers broke the Big Ten record in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:04.37) on Saturday night in the Big Ten women's swimming and diving meet. But so did winner Lilly King of Indiana (2:04.03), meaning Smith had to settle for second place while teammate Lindsey Horejsi, a freshman, took fourth (2:08.89).
Among other highlights for Minnesota, which took fourth place (1,086 points) on the last night of the meet:
• Zhou Yu was named diver of the championships. After winning gold on 1- and 3-meter boards earlier, she took third on the platform (362.25 points).
• Tevlynn Waddell was named the conference's freshman of the year; she won the 100 backstroke on Friday and collected four relay medals.
• Zoe Avestruz took third in the 100 freestyle (48:37).
• The Gophers' 400 freestyle relay took fourth (3:15:91).
U track relay fast
The Gophers' distance medley relay had the third-fastest time in school history in the Alex Wilson Invitational at Notre Dame. Shane Streich, Jackson Wellenstein, Mitch Hechsel and Derek Wiebke finished in 9:30.48 to take fourth overall. It's also the fourth-best time in the nation this indoor NCAA season.
• The Gophers women's team won seven event titles at the Parents' Day Invitational — the team's final indoor meet at the Minnesota Fieldhouse. Agnes Esser won the weight throw with a toss of 65-3½, third best in program history.
• The Gophers baseball team edged host Cal-Irvine 9-8 in its season opener. Minnesota took a 9-3 lead with three runs in the third inning on Eduardo Estrada's two-run homer and Luke Petterson's RBI single, one of his four hits. Micah Coffey also had a big game, going 2-for-5 with four RBI. His bases-loaded single in the first inning gave the Gophers a 2-0 lead after four batters. A doubleheader had been scheduled for Saturday, but the first game was canceled because of field conditions following a storm. The teams have a game scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday.
• The Gophers men's tennis team beat Middle Tennessee State 6-1 on Friday to improve to 8-1. The win was the 200th for coach Geoff Young in his career. He is 200-171 in 16 college seasons, the first six at Denver and the rest at Minnesota.
• The Gophers women's gymnastics team lost at No. 11 Denver 197.150 to 196.075, their second-highest score of the season. Bailie Holst of Minnesota tied for gold on uneven bars (9.875) and finished second in all-around.