It’s a stressful situation, stepping into the batter’s box with fans and teammates shouting your name.
When it’s the bottom of the seventh, your team is trailing and you’ve been on the bench the entire game, the pressure multiplies. It’s not easy stepping into that situation and doing exactly what half the stadium expects and the other half hopes you won’t achieve.
That’s why sophomore Mickenzi Krpec is an asset to the Texas softball team, head coach Connie Clark said.
“It takes a special person to be able to come in and pinch hit,” Clark said. “It’s very much a different role than being a starting [player] or being on defense and offense at the same time, and I really think she’s a tremendous pinch hitter.”
Krpec has appeared in 26 games this season, and she came off the bench as a pinch hitter in all but seven games. With a .286 batting average and a .468 on-base percentage, Krpec has developed into Texas’ go-to pinch hitter when someone in the lineup is struggling.
Krpec notched her first career home run in late February against Lamar. A few weeks after, she blasted a pinch-hit, three-run home run against Arkansas to spark a comeback that resulted in an 8–6, eight-inning Texas victory. Shortly after, she came off the bench once again to produce a walk-off, two-RBI single against UTSA.
“I’m just going out there and getting my job done,” Krpec said. “It’s nice that my team has faith in me in those kinds of situations, and it makes it a lot easier because they have all the confidence in the world in me.”
The consistency of Krpec’s production earned her a spot in the starting lineup as a designated player in two of Texas’ Big 12 conference series match-ups. She started in two games against Kansas and in the final game of the series against Oklahoma.
Krpec approaches her at-bats the same way whether she’s in the starting lineup or coming off the bench. Although she doesn’t see the pinch-hitter role as an ideal one to have, she looks at her job with an open mind.
“I guess there are pros and cons,” Krpec said. “Pros are that you get to watch everyone else and see how they do, and you get your chance to go up there with all of the information they’ve given. And when you’re in the starting lineup, you’re the one that has to give the information to other people and learn to adjust. Both roles are difficult, I think.”
Texas will take on UT-Arlington on Wednesday in a game Krpec has dubbed a confidence booster after Texas’ tough series
The Longhorns (27–12) have had success following defeats, boasting a 7–4 record in games following a loss. The Mavericks (26–19) will use their .335 team batting average to try and defeat Texas, who holds a 22–2 record in games between the two programs.
First pitch will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Red & Charline McCombs Field, and the game will be aired on