Softball team has solid showing in Florida

The Minnesota softball team began the 2007 season with four wins and one loss at the JU Tournament in Jacksonville, Fla.

Sophomore pitcher Briana Hassett tossed a 1-0 shutout against North Carolina-Greensboro in Friday’s first game. She struck out six batters, walked none and gave up just six hits.

The Gophers throttled tournament-host Jacksonville University 11-1 in six innings in Friday’s second game.

Seniors Lisa Parks and Mandy Valadez led the offensive outpouring, combining for three home runs and seven RBIs in the game.

Minnesota beat Greensboro again, this time winning 6-3 in Saturday’s early game, then Hassett picked up her second shutout of the weekend with a 1-0 win over Jacksonville in the late game. She struck out seven while giving up five hits in the win.

Only Southern Illinois got the better of the Gophers on the weekend, beating Minnesota 6-4 in Sunday’s game.

The Gophers had a 4-1 lead in the third inning, but the Salukis responded with four runs in the next two innings, saddling Hassett with her first loss of the season.

Buzard brilliant

All-American Aaron Buzard ran his fastest race of the season in the 400 meters at the Iowa State Classic.

The senior on the Minnesota men’s track and field team won the event with a time of 46.57, which is also an NCAA provisional qualifier.

Buzard was also a part of the distance medley relay which finished third Friday with a time of 9:44.33, also an NCAA provisional qualifier. Junior Hans Storvick, sophomore Walter Langkau and redshirt freshman Chris Rombough are the other members of the team.

Rombough also had a successful Saturday as he set the Minnesota record for freshman in the mile. Rombough finished fifth with a time of 4:04.95.

Alabi, Solberg break records

Senior Liz Alabi set a new school record for the weight throw on her first attempt Friday.

Alabi hurled the 20-pound weight 67 feet, 9 1/2 inches, which was good enough for third place in the event and the fifth-longest throw in the country this season.

The senior bettered the previous record, 64 feet, 1 3/4 inches, set by Beth Howard in 2000.

Junior Dawn Solberg also set a school record Friday, running the 60-meter hurdles in a time of 8.62 seconds, besting her own mark of 8.67 seconds. Solberg finished eighth in the event Saturday with a time of 8.74 seconds.

Sophomore Jamie Cheever finished second in the mile with a time of 4 minutes, 45.10 seconds, the third-fastest time in school history and an NCAA provisional qualifier.

Tennis teams split

The men’s tennis team upset No. 13 Virginia Commonwealth 4-1 on Saturday in Winston-Salem, N.C., but fell to No. 26 Wake Forest 5-1 on Sunday.

The 31st-ranked Gophers picked up the doubles point Saturday thanks to wins by the duo of seniors D.J. Geatz and Sion Wilkins and the duo of senior Andres Osorio and junior Chi-Lang Pham. Minnesota clinched the match with singles wins by Osorio, Geatz and senior Mikey Kantar.

The Demon Deacons swept all three doubles matches to get the doubles points, and won four singles matches to clinch the victory. Junior Raoul Schwark was the only Gophers player to win a singles match.

The women’s tennis team also split its weekend matches in North Carolina. The Gophers dropped Saturday’s match 7-0 to No. 7 North Carolina, but rebounded to beat North Carolina-Greensboro 7-0 on Sunday.