Texas softball trumps Texas Tech for second win in series, conference play

Nicholas Pannes

It seems like the sky is the limit for this Texas softball team.

The No. 7 Longhorns were in top form Friday night as they easily disposed of Texas Tech to the tune of a 10-1, five inning run rule victory. From the field to the mound to the plate, Texas dominated the entire contest.

Despite the dominant showing, things started out rocky for the Longhorns.

At the top of the first inning, with two outs and the bases emptied, Texas Tech All-American outfielder Karli Hamilton blasted a home run out left of the scoreboard, giving her team an early lead and a chance to build some momentum.

Instead, it ended up being the only run they scored all night.

Texas graduate transfer pitcher Molly Jacobsen put the Red Raiders on lockdown after giving up the home run. Jacobsen closed the next inning with a strikeout, leaving batters stranded on second and third base. Texas Tech’s final hit came in the top of the fifth inning, right before they were shut out of the game on a run rule. Jacobsen finished the night with five strikeouts.

The Longhorns flexed their powerful hitting, adding another two home runs to their record-breaking season. This time around, the homers didn’t come from resident sluggers Mary Iakopo or Shannon Rhodes, but rather from a pair of rising young stars.

Sophomore infielder McKenzie Parker lit the fire for her team with a two-run home run in the bottom of the first to give the Longhorns the lead. After a quiet start to the season, Parker stepped up her game to show excellent poise and power at the plate in the last few games for the Longhorns. Parker’s improvement at the plate is a testament to her work ethic, head coach Mike White said.

“You know, (McKenzie) Parker’s making the most of her opportunity. We’ve always known she’s a gifted player,” White said. “It was a situation where she said, ‘Do I wanna ride the pine, or do I wanna play?’ She’s really picked her game up.”

The team’s second home run, a center field blast from freshman designated player Jordyn Whitaker, was the team’s second grand slam of the season. Whitaker’s described by her peers and coaches as a certified power hitter, and she showed why she deserves such a reputation by rocketing the ball out of the park with only half a swing of her bat.

“We just went upstairs, and I looked at the pitch; it was quite a bit off the zone, so she did a great job hanging with it,” White said. “And you know, getting that grand slam, it’s a tremendous feat for a freshman.”

The Longhorns look to sweep the Red Raiders in their final matchup of the series Saturday. White stressed the importance of maintaining focus to close out the valuable conference victory.

“If you want to contend for championships, you have to get sweeps,” White said. “We’ve won the first two games, but tomorrow, (the game will) reward the team that plays the best. We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves.”