Back in his home state of Texas, University of Akron freshman pole vaulter Shawn Barber smashed the school outdoor record and nearly set the World Junior mark Friday night as the Zips competed in the Texas Relays in Austin.

Barber, who was fifth at the NCAA Indoor Championships last month, finished runner-up with a top jump of 18 feet, 8¾ inches to easily surpass the Zips’ previous outdoor record of 18-1. The record was set by five-time All-American John Russell in 2005. Mississippi’s Sam Kendricks won the pole vault with a jump of 19-00¾.

Nick Banks was third in the discus (179-1) and eighth in the shot put (54-1¼). Alexis Cooks placed fifth in the shot (46-8¼) and seventh in the discus (164-4).

Sprinter Rachel Christian competed in the Texas Relays and the Bobcat Invitational at nearby Texas State University and set personal bests at both in the 200 meters.

Softball

The University of Akron swept host Buffalo 3-2 and 10-1 to open Mid-American Conference play.

In the first game, Alissa Birkhimer’s bases-loaded single in the fifth inning scored shortstop Erin Pond. The one-run lead held up and made a winner of pitcher Erin Seiler (7-7).

In the second game, Akron (13-12, 2-0) pounded out 15 hits, including two-run homers by Jessica Schneider and Shawna Hochstetler. Catcher McKenzi Rhodes was 3-for-4 and Schneider had four RBI for the Zips.

Seiler also got the win in the second game against the Bulls (5-19, 0-2).

•?Kent State earned a doubleheader split at Ohio University.

Sophomore Emma Johnson threw her third two-hitter of the season in beating the Bobcats 2-1.

Kent State trailed 1-0 until the bottom of the sixth, when an Ohio error, a bunt single by Kim Kirkpatrick, a double by Abbey Ledford and an Ohio wild pitch allowed the Golden Flashes to take the lead with two runs.

In the second game, it was KSU’s (11-12, 1-1) turn to have just two hits in a game. Ohio (16-11, 1-1) won the nightcap 8-0.

Baseball

The Zips (4-18, 2-2) dropped their home opener to Northern Illinois 4-3. The game was played at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon.

Tennis

Akron’s women tennis team extended its winning streak to seven matches and improved to 2-0 in the MAC by beating host Ball State 4-3. Olga Shkundina, Prang Pantusart, Ksenia Berestetska and Madison Cohen earned the Zips (14-6, 2-0) points with singles victories.