AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn softball will be without an upperclassman in the infield for the rest of the 2017 season.
Junior infielder Emily Spain has “taken a leave of absence” from the program, Auburn coach Clint Myers announced Thursday afternoon.
“She has taken a leave of absence, and she’ll be not with us until the end of the year,” Myers said.
Myers said Thursday that Spain’s absence was not related to associate head coach Corey Myers’ abrupt resignation on the night of March 30.
“She’s taking a leave of absence,” Myers said. “She’s been seeing a doctor. It’s just the way it is. She needed some time, so she’s got it.”
The Pelham, Ala., native was not introduced with her teammates as a non-starter for Auburn prior to the Tigers’ Wednesday night win over Georgia State.
Spain has not appeared in a game since March 26, where she pinch hit in a 7-0 loss at Florida. The junior appeared in 13 games this season, starting the first 6 of the season at second base. She batted an .071 with 1 hit, 6 runs scored and 4 walks in 14 at-bats. Spain started 2 games for the Tigers in 2016.
Since her removal from the starting lineup in mid-February, Auburn softball has started both sophomore Casey McCrackin and freshman KK Crocker at second base. Crocker started each of the last two games for the Tigers.
Myers said Thursday that junior infielder Whitney Jordan will continue to practice at second base to provide extra depth behind the two underclassmen.
“Life goes on,” Myers said. “That’s the great thing about sports. No one person’s bigger than the program. It just means that somebody else has to pick up the load.”
Auburn softball returns to action Friday night against Missouri. The two sets of Tigers open the 3-game SEC weekend series at 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT on SEC Network+.
“I anticipate today being the best practice we have this year,” Myers said before Thursday practice. “The most important game we’ll play all year is Friday. And then when that one’s over, the next most important game we’ll play all year is going to be Saturday. We’ve got to take it just that way.”