Carlie Brandt embodies the utility role with Minnesota

Brandt earned time primarily at second base and played two games as designated player last series.

Utility Carlie Brandt winds up for a pitch during the game against the University of South Dakota on Tuesday, Apr. 4, 2017.

Image by Ellen Schmidt, Daily File Photo

Utility Carlie Brandt winds up for a pitch during the game against the University of South Dakota on Tuesday, Apr. 4, 2017.

by Drew Cove

In a weekend of results they didn’t want, the Gophers found value in a utility player.

No. 22 Minnesota looks to redeem itself after a weekend of four consecutive losses in five games at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic in Orlando. A player who saw time in many different areas around the field last weekend was sophomore Carlie Brandt. 

“It’s instrumental,” head coach Jamie Trachsel said on Brandt’s skillset. “The fact that she can do it at a high level makes her extremely valuable.”

She played in the first game of the season at shortstop and didn’t see additional action until the most recent weekend, where she played in all four games. She earned time primarily at second base, and in two games, she played designated player. Brandt also got the call to pitch during the series.

Though Brandt’s first time pitching this season came in a 3-0 loss, she went three innings and allowed no runs on two hits.

“I practice everywhere. I’m flying all over the place during practice,” Brandt said. “I’ve spent some time in the infield, I’ve even taken some outfield reps.”

For Brandt, this season has been similar to last year in terms of her role.

As a freshman with the Gophers last season, she played in 22 games. She started 11 in the outfield, somewhere she hasn’t played yet this season. 

Brandt also earned time pitching. She made 14 appearances as a pitcher last season and emerged 6-0 with a 0.84 earned run average. It’s no fluke that this utility player has pitching stats like that. 

In high school, she recorded 1,000 strikeouts over her career there, though Brandt said she played from seventh to 12th grade at the high school level.

“I was mainly a pitcher, I think I pitched 95 percent of games,” Brandt said. “My seventh grade year I got to see some outfield time and some third base.”

Brandt is a native of LeSueur, Minnesota and her goals and style on and off the field haven’t changed.

“She does anything that the team needs her to do, which I think is very rare,” outfielder Maddie Houlihan said. “She’s open to trying a different position [and] playing whatever position the team needs her to do.”

Houlihan reiterated what her coach said. They both remarked how great Brandt is at doing the work that not everyone on the team can, and that she does it so efficiently.

Their relationship off the field is also something that speaks to Brandt’s attitude. Houlihan said Brandt is willing to help her with anything she needs, similar to the way she helps the team on the field.

“She’s one of my closest friends on the team,” Houlihan said. “She’s someone that I definitely could go to if I needed anything.”