Kline Leads Rebels To Friday Win Over USC

Mississippi pitcher Will Kline got the defensive backup he needed from his Rebel teammates. On the other side, defensive errors nullified another brilliant outing by USC pitcher Harris Honeycutt, who suffered his second straight loss on Friday night. Read inside for full story.

It's been a long week for the fourth ranked South Carolina Gamecocks and they've only just begun. If Harris Honeycutt was to avenge his first loss in a brilliant Carolina career, he'd have to do it on the road against last season's conference tournament champions. But Ole Miss was not the problem tonight. Three errors by the Gamecock defense nullified a valiant offensive effort. Of Honeycutt's six runs allowed, only two were earned. When it was over, the Rebels celebrated an 8–5 victory.

It's always scary playing a ranked opponent on the road. When the Ole Miss Rebels started off their half of the first inning with a run scored the traditional way – they manufactured it. An infield single, a stolen base and another single by Cody Overbeck got them on the board first.

In the second inning, Evan Button hit a two out solo home run to jump on the Yardcocks 2 – 0. Honeycutt seemed unfazed at this point though; surely the Carolina offense would start rolling soon. Before it would though, a throwing error on the part of Trent Kline, followed by a walk and yet another RBI single from Cody Overbeck deepened the hole from which they'd have to dig.

With Ole Miss starter Will Kline mowing down Gamecocks, the prospects of a win began to show signs of doubt. In the top of the fourth inning though, the nationally recognized Gamecock offense got rolling. A lead off double by Harley Lail was followed up by a hit batsman in Travis Jones. Of all the Carolina Clubbers this season, the one guy who could hurt you the most stepped into the batter's box and delivered. James Darnell crushed a triple to left center and then scored on an RBI ground out by Justin Smoak. With the score tied, the Gamecocks looked to be on a roll.

No sooner than they charged back from a three run deficit, the Rebels jumped right back on top by three. Errors by Carolina's most reliable contributors, Jones and Darnell, would allow three unearned runs to score. Like the first two runs, the Rebels did their scoring with two outs in the inning.

Darnell summed up the evening best, "They made us pay for everything we did. It was a tough one to lose."

The victim of the sloppy play, Honeycutt took his share of the blame, "It's important to shut a team down after you put up a big inning like (our fourth), but we just couldn't stop them. I felt good tonight but things just didn't turn out. I just have to battle harder - work harder."

Though the Gamecocks would score again in the sixth while Justin Smoak increased his hit streak to 20 games, it would not be enough. Will Kline, who pitched brilliantly, would induce a bases loaded double play by Robbie Grinestaff to escape the jam. Kline threw 129 pitches over seven innings and struck out eight on the night.

No one felt worse for Honeycutt than Coach Ray Tanner. "Harris Honeycutt deserved a better fate than what he got," Tanner said. "He battled hard for us. If you don't play defense, you're going to let some runs score and that's what happened."

The bullpen took over from there to close out the Gamecocks in the first of a three game set in Oxford, Mississippi.

Game two will be tomorrow at 5:00 pm as Arik Hempy looks to continue his impressive comeback from Tommy John surgery.

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