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No. 5/3 Bulldogs Beat No. 8/9 Clemson in Extras, 2-1

Sean Stevenson

Associate Sports Communications Director (Volleyball, Softball)

University of Georgia Athletic Association

ATHENS, Ga. – No. 5/3 Georgia softball defeated No. 8/9 Clemson 2-1 in an eight-inning battle Wednesday evening at Jack Turner Stadium.


Senior Jayda Kearney provided the walk-off hit, a single through the right side, to plate Dallis Goodnight, beating the Tigers 2-1. Georgia improves to 13-1 on the season.


Kearney and Goodnight each tallied two hits in the game, combining for four of Georgia’s six hits. Goodnight drove in Georgia’s other run in the third.


Madison Kerpics pitched two innings in her start, allowing one hit and striking out two Tigers. Shelby Walters worked two and two-thirds innings out of the pen, giving up two hits and striking out two. Lilli Backes (4-0) earned the victory in the circle.  Backed pitched three and a third innings, giving up a run on three hits. She fanned three Clemson batters.


Goodnight used an RBI double to left center in the bottom of the third to drive in Sarah Gordon, putting the Dogs on the board 1-0.


The 1-0 Georgia lead held until a two-out RBI single off the bat of McKenzie Clark tied the game at 1-all in the top of the sixth.


The 1-1 draw was held through the end of the seventh, and the game was sent into extra innings.


Backes worked around a one-out single in the top of the eighth to hold the Tigers. Goodnight led off the bottom of the inning with a bunt for a hit down the third base line. She advanced on a wild pitch, then again on a flyout. Kearney stepped in and singled through the right side on a 1-0 pitch to drive in Goodnight and walk off the Tigers, 2-1.


The Bulldogs hit the road this weekend to Palo Alto, California, to participate in the 2024 DeMarini Invitational hosted by No. 11/10 Stanford. Georgia will play No. 11/10 Stanford and No. 20/24 Cal twice each while also taking on Boise State. The action begins Friday, March 1,1 against Cal at 3 p.m. ET, followed by Boise State at 5:30 p.m.


Head coach Tony Baldwin

On what it means to beat a team of Clemson's talent..

"We've been talking about it since day one. That to beat these types of teams and that type of pitcher, you’ve just got to stay in it. You’ve got to be mentally strong enough to just keep staying in it. You're going to get out on offense, right? So, we're pretty good on the offensive side. We're going to get out and sometimes you’ve got to deal with it. You’ve got to go out there and you’ve got to play great defense. I thought Ellie [Armistead] was outstanding on the defensive side. And that's the thing I'm most proud of is just our resilience just to play comfortably under the strain of a close game."


On the performance of the three pitchers – Kerpics, Walters and Backes – tonight...

"They're all gritty. They're so different. That's a challenge for every team to go through those three. And I don't think it's the last time you'll probably see us go that sort of a route against a good team."


#99 Lilli Backes | LHP | Jr.

On how the pitching staff balances each other...

"We're all just such good pitchers that I think it's hard for other teams to prepare for all three different types of pitchers. I think we complement each other well."


#8 Jayda Kearney | OF | Sr.

On her mindset coming up to the plate in a game-winning situation...

"I was looking for a pitch, obviously, more up in the zone, and I just wanted to get my swing off. For the most part, as long as I hit the ball hard and put it in play, Dallas [Goodnight] was scoring."


#1 Dallis Goodnight | OF | Jr.

On her baserunning strategy during the last inning...

"In that last inning, you want to be aggressive if it's a passed ball, but not too aggressive because it is an important run. So just seeing the ball and not doing too much or overthinking or trying to guess pitches. Just seeing the ball and playing the game."


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