McKenzie Parker, Janae Jefferson hit career milestones, steer Longhorn softball victory over

Emma Hutchinson, Sports Reporter

Junior McKenzie Parker stepped onto Red & Charline McCombs Field for Tuesday’s game, freshly announced as the Co-Big 12 Player of the Week — her first career selection in the conference.

“It’s really special just to know that I went out there and did my job and worked with my teammates and was able to make something happen,” Parker said. 

Parker has shown up and shown out on the plate for the past five games, which included a double-header against No. 23 Louisiana and a three-day contest against No. 20 LSU this past weekend, helping Texas to continue their six-game winning streak. The designated player had a .500 hitting average across the five match-ups and managed a double, a homerun, four walks and  leads the team with eight RBIs. 

“I think she’s been a big part of our success the last few weeks; obviously she came out with a huge hit this weekend for us — we were down by one run and she came out with a two run double,” head coach Mike White said. “Just her leadership with the bat has been good. She doesn’t get too overanxious, which I think is a good strength of hers.”   

Entering Tuesday’s game against Lamar University, Parker hoped to continue her 10-game hitting streak, but had to settle with a foul out and a walk to keep her 15-game reached base streak afloat. 

“Even if I’m not doing my best in the year, just cheering on everyone else on the field to make sure that they do their job so that our energy and dynamic stays positive is what keeps me going,” Parker said.    

Parker wasn’t the only Longhorn celebrating a career milestone: senior Janae Jefferson reached 300 career hits, becoming the first player in the program’s history to accomplish that goal. Jefferson currently holds the lead in NCAA softball for total hits and batting average entering the 2022 season. The four-year veteran served up a 3-3 hit ratio, an RBI and two stolen bases against Lamar.

“Right now, she’s settled back into her game, not trying to do too much but just letting the hits come,” White said. “I think there was a lot of pressure put on her by herself with making the U.S. National Team, I think she felt like she had to prove that to everybody all over again, and you can’t do that.”  

The Cardinals were quickly swept away, and it wasn’t because of the 14 mph wind gusts that evening. Texas went full speed ahead as they left Lamar without a point across all innings, retiring the game at the bottom of the 5th. The Longhorns snagged another sweep, finishing the contest 8-0.     

Texas will play Texas State Wednesday, March 23, on the road in San Marcos as they prepare for their first Big-12 Conference matchup against Kansas this upcoming weekend.