ATHENS, Ga. - The 17th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs defeated the Texas A&M Aggies 3-1 in the opening game of the three-game series Friday evening at Jack Turner Stadium.
The Bulldogs climb to 28-4 on the season and 3-1 in SEC play. Texas A&M fell to 18-11 overall, 1-6 in the SEC.
Sophomore pitcher Madison Kerpics (11-1) went the distance for the second time in as many games, allowing one run on three hits. She registered a career-best 11 strikeouts.
Junior Sara Mosley picked up two hits and an RBI in the contest while senior Lacey Fincher provided the big hit of the game, a two-run home run in the third inning.
A two-out error by the Aggies' shortstop proved costly for Texas A&M in the third. With Sydney Kuma aboard on the miscue, Mosley drove Kuma in with a double laced to the wall in right center. Fincher then blasted her ninth home run of the season off the videoboard in left for a two-run home run, putting Georgia ahead 3-0 after three.
Kerpics took a no-hit bid into the fourth inning, losing it on a leadoff double. The runner came in to score on a single poked through the left side, putting Texas A&M on the board, 3-1. Kerpics and Texas A&M's Makinzy Herzog silenced each other's offense the remainder of the game as the 3-1 stood through the final out.
Head Coach Tony Baldwin
On Madison Kerpics' performance... "Really proud of her obviously. I thought she really commanded the ball of seven innings. It took her a couple hitters to get settled in there, and we need to keep getting better. After that first inning, she was really in command the whole way. I think that says one, just a little about her and her stuff, her resilance and competitiveness, but it also says something about the work that she's done going into this week in terms of her fitness. She's in a really good place with her physical health. We feel really good about the recovery work that she's been doing and what we've been doing between outings. I think that showed with her ability to bounce back from Wednesday and throw another great game tonight."
On the importance of being strong in terms of pitching, defense, and hitting... "First off, you're dealing with 18-22 year-olds. We talk a lot about trying to be consistent in our minds. The more consistent we can be there, the easier it is to perform out here. This team has really grown a lot in that, and I'm proud of them for it. To be successful in this league, you really have to be able to compete in all three areas. Tonight, their pitcher threw an outstanding game. I thought her stuff, while maybe not at the velocity that we saw on Wednesday, the movement of her pitches and her ability to change speeds made it a real challenge. I thought our hitters did a good job of fighting the fight but hats off to her and the game she threw. We don't win tonight if we don't have pitching and defense carrying the way. Obviously, proud of them for doing that."
Sophomore Madison Kerpics On her preparation for the game... "I just worked with Coach Chelsea [Wilkerson] on keeping my arm loose, just doing some arm movements and getting with our strength coach. It was just about getting my body recovered yesterday but also getting ready for today." On the pitching staff's efficiency... "With Coach Chelsea [Wilkerson], we've been working a lot more on doing batters, mixing different pitches, not just throwing repetitive fastballs in a row but working on locations and being able to hit your spot with each pitch."
The Bulldogs and Aggies square off in Game Two of the series Saturday.First pitch is set for 6 p.m. on SEC Network.