The No. 5 seed Sun Devils (47-13) rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth to knock off the Rebels (40-24) 4-3 and move within one victory of the College World Series before a Packard Stadium crowd of 4,247. It is Ole Miss' 14th one-run loss of the season and one more disheartening result for Kline.
"Will pitched his guts out, but you have to give it to Arizona State for putting together an inning like that," Mike Bianco said. "We are sitting here because of the ability to bounce back and that will be needed again."
Kline (7-3) baffled the nation's best offense throughout most of the contest before momentum began to swing in the eighth inning and surged straight to the Sun Devils during the final frame.
The junior allowed a solo shot to Eric Sogard with one out in the eight but escaped unscathed and a 3-1 advantage intact. The ninth wouldn't be as kind with ASU generating three straight singles to load the bases at the opening of the inning.
A groundout and sacrifice fly followed to tie the score, and All-American Brett Wallace lined a pitch to center for the game-winning hit. The unraveling all occurred with closer Cody Satterwhite staring in from the right field bullpen.
"Will is so good that you are looking for a strikeout there, and then maybe he can get out of it," Bianco said. "Obviously, it may have been the wrong decision tonight. We thought about it, but he (Kline) didn't lose location, and it was his game."
Kline was without question frustrated following the game but gave credit to the Sun Devils.
"I felt like I had my stuff the whole time," Kline said. "It was a heck of a college baseball game. You have to tip your hat to them for putting the inning together, but it is unbelievably disappointing right now."
Also disappointing was the recurring theme of double plays wreaking havoc on possible Rebels rallies. Ole Miss stranded ten runners on base and had three different frames ended by 1-6-3 twin killings.
Sun Devil starter Mike Leake was the beneficiary and creator of all three double plays, but the freshman finished with a no-decision after allowing three runs and punching out five batters in seven complete. .
Junior Brian Flores (11-1) picked up the win with two innings of hitless shutout baseball. Flores was expected to start at some point during the series.
"Brian came in and really shut it down," Pat Murphy said. "I think it is his first relief appearance of the year so he did a great job."
Ole Miss got a run off Leake in the third inning and pushed its final two scores across during the seventh. Alex Kliman doubled off the right-center wall to leadoff the inning, advanced to third on an infield single from Jordan Henry and scored on a bloop by Zach Miller.
The sixth inning saw extra curricular fireworks that seemed to fire up the Rebels. Alex Kliman applied a hard tag to Sogard and words were exchanged. First baseman Evan Button snatched a bat from a Sun Devil's hand and flung it toward the dugout, but the bat connected with the player. Both coaches came rushing out of the dugout, and Murphy had to be restrained by the umpires. Order was restored, and no ejections were issued. Each team's coach answered questions about the skirmish by saying that emotions simply ran high in a tight game.
The Rebels added insurance a half inning later thanks to Zack Cozart. Jordan Henry and Miller set the table with singles and Cody Overbeck was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Cozart lifted a two-strike pitch into shallow right field that plated two runs. It was Ole Miss' final threat, and the final score change until Arizona State began the comeback an inning later.
Ole Miss will send Lance Lynn to the mound tomorrow at 6 p.m. (cst) in the hope of keeping the Rebels' season alive. Arizona State is undecided on its starter.
"We have went through a lot of this type of thing this year," Cozart said. "Bouncing back is what we have to concentrate on right now."
Devilish ending has Rebels on ropes
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