The fourth-ranked Gophers wrestling team won seven of the first eight bouts and defeated 23rd-ranked North Dakota State 26-9 in a first-round matchup in the NWCA National Duals on Sunday in Fargo, N.D., earning a berth in quarterfinals next weekend in Iowa City.

The meet began with the Gophers' Scott Schiller — who wrestled at West Fargo High School — winning a 12-3 major decision over Tommy Peterson at 197 pounds. The rout also included top-ranked Dylan Ness' 12th pin of the season at 157 pounds and a major decision by Nick Waznek at 165. Ethan Lizak, a Gophers true freshman who made his dual debut a few weeks ago, defeated No. 13 Josh Rodriguez 2-1 for his first victory over a ranked opponent.

No. 1 Chris Dardanes improved to 19-0 at 133 pounds by defeating Kyle Gliva 11-6, and at 141, No. 4 Nick Dardanes beat Mitch Bengtson for the third time this season, following up a pair of narrow victories earlier in the year with a decisive 10-4 win.

Gophers baseball team falls to Houston

The Gophers baseball team first failed to hold a three-run lead, then dropped the series finale 5-4 to Houston when it failed to close out the Cougars in the bottom of the ninth. Matt Fiedler's RBI single in the top of the ninth drove in Alex Bowell with the go-ahead run for the Gophers (0-3). But the 4-3 lead didn't last, as the Cougars scored twice in the bottom of the inning without hitting a ball out of the infield. Bowell and Dan Motl each had two hits, and Motl drove in two runs.

Gophers softball team loses first game

The Gophers softball team beat Massachusetts-Lowell 8-0 in six innings then fell to Central Florida 4-0 in Clermont, Fla. The Gophers matched their best start in program history at 8-0 with the shutout of the River Hawks, before suffering their first loss of the season. The victory against Lowell was fifth-year head coach Jessica Allister's 150th with the program.

In the Gophers' victory, Hannah Granger had a three-run homer and four RBI and Erika Rozell hit her first collegiate homer. Nikki Anderson struck out seven and posted he first shutout of her career.

Gophers gymnasts take second in tri-meet

The 10th-ranked Gophers men's gymnastics team got a victory from NCAA champion Ellis Mannon in the pommel horse and placed second to ninth-ranked Iowa in a Big Ten tri-meet Saturday night in Iowa City that included No. 11 Nebraska. The Gophers scored 433.600, .180 behind the Hawkeyes. Nebraska scored 420.250. The Gophers placed first in team scores in the horse and floor exercise.

Lakeville's Saxton added to U.S. ski roster

Skiing: Ben Saxton of Lakeville has been added to the U.S. roster for the Nordic skiing world championships, which start Wednesday and run through March 1 in Falun, Sweden. Saxton finished sixth in the classic sprint at the under-23 world championships earlier this month. He joins Jessie Diggins of Afton, Caitlin Gregg of Minneapolis and Kyle Bratrud of Eden Prairie on the 17-athlete roster for the championships.

around the horn

Stanislas Wawrinka beat defending champion Tomas Berdych for the sixth consecutive time, winning 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in Rotterdam, Netherlands to clinch the World Tennis Tournament for his ninth career title and first indoors. ... Kei Nishikori beat Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4 in the Memphis Open championship, becoming the first man to win three consecutive titles at this tournament. ... Pablo Cuevas won his third ATP title on by defeating qualifier Luca Vanni 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (4) in the Brazil Open final. ... Third-seeded Andrea Petkovic won the Diamond Games in Antwerp, Belgium without hitting a ball when fifth-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro pulled out of because of a neck injury.

Skiing: Jean-Baptiste Grange won the slalom title at the world championships after first-run leader Marcel Hirscher straddled a gate in deteriorating conditions. Fritz Dopfer was second and Felix Neureuther earned bronze. American Ted Ligety finished 21st.

staff and wire reports