The Gophers softball team lost one of the top players in program history Tuesday, when junior catcher Kendyl Lindaman signaled her intentions to transfer.
Lindaman earned Big Ten Player of the Year honors twice. She shattered Minnesota’s single-season home run record as a freshman with 20, and hit 20 more homers as a sophomore.
NCAA softball rules now allow players to transfer to another school and play immediately. Lindaman has two years of eligibility remaining.
Sources close to the Gophers program predict she will land in the Pac-12 or SEC, hoping to better position herself to make the College World Series and 2020 U.S. Olympic team.
Gophers coach Jamie Trachsel issued a statement Tuesday but declined further comment: “I met with Kendyl this morning and she informed me of her decision to transfer. We wish her well moving forward.”
Lindaman and her parents did not respond to messages from the Star Tribune.
As a freshman, Lindaman batted .426 and smashed the previous Gophers record for home runs (15). She set records for on-base percentage (.598), slugging percentage (.899) and walks (63), helping the Gophers to a 56-5 finish under, Jessica Allister, the Gophers’ previous coach.
Following that historic season, Allister left the Gophers for Stanford. To replace Allister, the Gophers hired Trachsel from Iowa State.
Lindaman’s production slipped slightly as a sophomore, as she batted .361 with a .532 OBP and .832 SLG, but she earned second-team All-America honors again, as the Gophers finished 41-17.
For the second consecutive year, however, the Gophers went 2-2 in an NCAA regional, missing a chance to advance to the Super Regionals.
“She was the most feared hitter in the Big Ten,” former Gophers pitcher Sara Moulton said via text. “The new transfer rules are going to hurt programs. It’s tough to find high-caliber players like Lindaman. This is a huge loss to the Gophers.”