Kline ready to face Golden Eagles

Ole Miss will send Will Kline to the mound to face USM as the Rebels hope to extend their current four-game win streak.

Will Kline will get his first start of the season tonight at Pearl against Southern Mississippi. Kline has been one of the Rebel pitchers the last couple of years that the coaches really want to help the team.

Not that they don't want every pitcher to help. But they have made it known by word and action that Will Kline is in the plans for this program while he is here. They like his stuff and feel he can be effective.

From this year's Ole Miss baseball guide, Bianco is quoted on Kline: "Will Kline is one of the most talented pitchers on this staff. He has a dominant fast ball, breaking ball, and change-up. We have high expectations from him as we enter the 2006 season."

Kline has had his ups and downs over the two seasons. He's mostly relieved, having started only one game last season. This year he has eight appearances with a 0-1 record and an ERA of 3.18 in 11.1 innings, fourth best ERA on the team. He's given up nine hits, walked five and struck out nine.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound third-year sophomore right-hander from Tupelo is one of those pitchers you see every year during a season – a guy who has "good stuff" as the coaches call it, has some experience, but has yet to really put together a solid run of performances. Tonight against the Golden Eagles, Kline gets another shot to come through and establish himself as one of the pitchers the Rebels can count on this season and next.

"Will had only one start last year. We've normally had Will come out of the bullpen, and he's done OK," said Bianco, noting that regular Tuesday starter Brett Bukvich, the freshman left-hander, will start Saturday's Grove Bowl Day game against Auburn. "We needed an arm to start on Tuesday. He's the next in line, and we look forward to seeing what he can do in the starter's role."

Kline says he's ready.

"I'm excited. It's all about going out there and making pitches. I know in the past I've walked too many and gotten hit hard sometimes or fallen behind in counts. I have to keep focused and stay away from all that and just make good pitches."

Kline says he knows the game in Pearl is a big one considering the location and the opposition.

"But I'm just going to take all that like a grain of salt, go out there and pitch as well as I can, and keep our team in the game," said Kline, who made 15 appearances last season with 17.2 innings pitched. "I know it's a big moment for me and for the team. But I just want to go out there and do my job and give my team a chance."

Kline says there's a different feeling among team members now as opposed to only a week ago. It was a dramatic 9-8 win over USM last Tuesday night in Oxford that started the current four-game win streak for the Rebs.

"The bus ride from Alabama wasn't fun, even though it was only about three hours. That's what happens when you get swept," he said. "The bus ride (Sunday) from Athens, which was a lot longer, was fun. Everybody was chatty, laughing, having a good time. That's what winning does. And we feel pretty good about ourselves right now and want that to carry over tonight and this weekend."

Southern Miss, 21-9 on the season but losers in two of three games at home over the weekend to Memphis, will send right-handed sophomore Barry Bowden, who started last week's game in Oxford, to the mound again to face the Rebels.

Bianco said tonight will be a fun setting for the game but the opposition will again be fierce.

"Every time we play Southern Miss, it seems to be a dramatic game," he said. "When you play a team from your state that is also a very good team, and to be able to play them in a Double A park, one we haven't seen yet, makes it even more special. We've heard a lot of great things about (Trustmark Park). The kids and the coaches and I'm sure the fans are excited about it. It's like playing in AutoZone Park in Memphis. It brings something else, something special, to midweek games."

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