Kline Silences Auburn on Plains

AUBURN, Ala. - Ole Miss starter Will Kline bore down and put No. 13 Ole Miss (20-8, 4-3) on his back as he went the distance in stifling the Auburn bats for a 4-2 opening-game win.

Kline (4-1) sat down 11 Tigers and allowed only six hits during his first career complete game. The Rebel defense also did its part with an errorless nine innings. Kline had 13 strikeouts against Wright State earlier this season. Auburn has now lost 17 consecutive conference contests.

"It (the complete game) means everything personally," Kline said. "It is my first one ever. But also, the game meant so much to this team in coming out with a win. I wanted to play my part. I only get to pitch once a week so I try my best to give the team my all."

Ole Miss scratched runs during three separate innings including a clutch insurance run in the top of the ninth to ease the tight game. Logan Power drilled a 3-1 pitch off reliever and ace Brett Butts over the left-field wall for the final advantage.

"The insurance run was really big," head coach Mike Bianco said. "It changes the mindset of the other team, and it changes their offensive approach."

The insurance run was not a factor in Bianco's decision to avoid the bullpen as Kline said that he learned in the eighth it was his game to win.

"I thought he may have pulled me earlier, but that wasn't the case," Kline said. "He told me in the eighth that it was my game to lose. He said to go out there and battle and get my game face on."

Catcher Brett Basham delivered the go-ahead RBI and also had the best view of Kline's masterpiece. Basham hit a seventh inning groundout that brought in pinch runner JoJo Tann. He delivered on his one chance before a different action would have been taken.

"Coach said he was going to give me one chance to get him in and then the next pitch we were going to squeeze," Basham said. "I gave it a shot on the swing because we had to do whatever to get that run in."

Basham also pointed out that it was not a hard decision to leave Kline in for the ninth.

"He was as good in the ninth as he was in the seventh, it was just unbelievable."

The third run pinned the loss on Auburn starter Paul Burnside (4-1), who pitched seven innings of three-hit, three-run ball. It was Burnside's first loss of the season.

"I was disappointed with our effort early," Bianco said. "We let him settle in, but you have to give him credit. He had a tremendous game."

Ole Miss was able to break through first with a two-run home run by Cody Overbeck in the fourth inning. Justin Henry reached on catcher's interference and also scored on the shot over the left-field wall.

That particular lead was short lived as Kline missed his one pitch of the day against All-SEC performer Mike Bianucci during the bottom of the frame. Bianucci connected for a monster 2-RBI home run to tie the game. Josh Donaldson also scored for the Tigers (19-10, 0-7).

The win was the first on Friday for Ole Miss during this year's SEC campaign. The Rebels will try for the series clincher as Lance Lynn goes against Tiger Evan Crawford. Game time is 2 p.m.

"We aren't playing the rest of the time with our backs against the wall," Kline said. "Now you aren't trying to get two in a row to take the series. Plus we got it against their best guy and we didn't get all the hits in the world but we got them when they mattered."

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