ATHENS, Ga. - The 16th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs defeated the Mississippi State Bulldogs, 3-0, Friday evening at Jack Turner Stadium.
Georgia is now 25-6 on the season and 5-1 in SEC play. This marks the eighth-straight win for the Bulldogs, the longest streak of the season. Georgia has won six-straight SEC contests, the most since 2013.
Madison Kerpics (10-4) worked six and a third shutout innings, allowing three hits. She struck out five Bulldogs with no walks. Shelby Walters pitched the last 0.2 innings en route to her second save of the season.
The offense picked up eight hits on the evening. Dallis Goodnight was 4-for-4 at the plate with one run and an RBI. Jayda Kearney, Lyndi Rae Davis, Sydney Chambley and Sydney Kuma tallied the other four hits.
The Bulldogs got on the board in the second inning. A double by Chambley advanced Davis to third, who reached on a leadoff single. Kuma singled to the pitcher as Davis took home. Ellie Armistead reached first off a Mississippi State (22-9, 3-1) error as Chambley scored to grab a 2-0 lead.
Goodnight bunt for a hit and stole second with two outs in the fourth. Kearney reached on a fielder's choice as Goodnight rounded third and went home to boost Georgia's lead to three runs.
Mississippi State mounted a seventh inning rally. With two on and one out, Walters took over in the circle. A bunt for a hit loaded the bases. Walters induced a flyout to center and a fielder's choice up the middle to thwart the rally and secure the 3-0 shutout.
Georgia is back in action Saturday afternoon for the second game of the series beginning at 12 p.m., live on SEC Network.
Head Coach Tony Baldwin
On the team's performance... "I thought that at the end of the day, that first game of SEC weekend there is always a bit of feeling out. I thought we came ready to play. I thought Maddie [Kerpics] really settled in and threw great in the middle innings. I think that is where we took control of the game. I think we had two or three at bats away from that being a few more runs on the board there. You are just fighting for those little inches. They did a good job mixing up the pitching. All in all, it was a good ball game. Tomorrow, we have to come back out and compete again and keep playing good defense. We don't give up any runs on a pretty good coach, we will win a lot of those games."
On being 6-1 in the SEC... "I've mentioned a couple times that I think our early schedule has really prepared us for this. We faced some really good pitching. We faced a lot of different kinds of pitching, righties and lefties, hard throwers and soft throwers. I've said it several times that if someone saw more changeups in the first four weeks of the season, God bless them because we saw them all. Our team learned to fight early. Credit to Stanford. They came in and kind of punched us in the mouth, and then, Charlotte did the same thing. That weekend was a little bit of a gut check. Since that time, we've responded well. I think we have a tough team, and resilient team. Madison [Kerpics] and Shelby [Walters] have worked really well together, and that's been a big difference in winning some of these close games the last few weekends."