By Parrish Alford
TEMPE, Ariz. – Will Kline had dreamed of the day since he pitched balls in the backyard to his dad while growing up in Tupelo.
“I’m speechless,” Kline said Thursday after learning he’d been selected by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays with the first pick in the second round of Major League Baseball’s amateur draft.
Kline was a later round pick of the Houston Astros last year but chose to return for his junior season. He arrived here with the rest of his
teammates later Thursday. The Rebels will practice tonight at 6 local time in preparation for Game 1 of the Tempe Super Regional against Arizona State Saturday night at 6.
Kline was happy to be drafted and was drafted higher than expected but was eager to return his attention to this weekend.
“It’s all about getting to Omaha now,” he said.
On Thursday Kline’s attention was obviously split. The draft's early round were televised on ESPN2. Kline and his girlfriend, Laura Godwin, also of
Tupelo, began watching at her house.
“Then we kind of changed locations and went to my house,” he said. “When it went off I followed it on the computer. I’ve always kept up with the
Kline will be the Rebels’ starting pitcher in Game 1. The right-hander enters the weekend with a 7-2 record and a 3.72 ERA. In 116 innings he’s
struck out 127 batters, and opponents are hitting .234 against him.
He’ll face a predominantly left-handed hitting lineup against the Sun Devils. Arizona State leads the nation in hitting (.351) and fielding
READ MORE ABOUT OLE MISS IN THE SUPER REGIONAL IN SATURDAY'S DAILY JOURNAL.