With the University of Minnesota's softball team set to open its season against North Carolina State in just 10 days, the team announced Tuesday that star infielder Hope Brandner has not been medically cleared to play.
The team did not get into specifics of the situation but said her status moving forward is "not yet known."
Brandner, a junior, played in all 60 games last season in her first year with the Gophers and hit .354 with a team-leading 19 home runs. She was second on the team with 59 RBIs and was an All-Big Ten First-Team selection. She spent her freshman season at Oregon State before transferring to Minnesota.
"Finding different ways to win and different people stepping up in big moments is what was the catalyst and the strength of our team last year and it will be this year too," said Gophers head coach Jamie Trachsel, adding they won't try and overcompensate without Brandner playing. "We can't be something that we're not. We're not asking players to be anybody that they're not."
If Brandner is out for an extended period of time, it remains unknown who would take over the daily first base duties. The team has several experienced utility players that could fill the spot but only one, senior Carlie Brandt, has seen time at first base for the Gophers. Brandt appeared in 51 games last year and has played seven different positions for the Gophers in her career.
"Adversity is a thing in its own," said senior infielder MaKenna Partain. "I think our team handles it really well and we're just excited to go after the season."