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Top 100 Countdown: 22. Branden Kline (Virginia)

College Baseball Daily continues our countdown to the start of the 2012 College Baseball season by checking in on the Top 100 Players in the country. We will be providing one player per day until we reach number 1.

We continue the countdown today at number 22 with Virginia junior RHP Branden Kline. The Frederick, Maryland native attended Governor Thomas Johnson High School. As a senior, he had 0.51 ERA in 41 innings while striking out 79 while walking 12. He picked up several honors including being named First-Team All-State, All-Metro, Monocacy Valley Athletics Conference Pitcher of the Year and Frederick County Player of the Year. He was selected in the sixth round of the 2009 MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox but decided to head to Virginia to continue his baseball career.

As a freshman in 2010, he appeared in 22 games (eight starts) going 5-1 with a 3.62 ERA in 64.2 innings pitched. He struck out 56 batters while walking 20. He played in the summer of 2010 in the NECBL with the Newport Gulls. He struggled mightily in three starts totaling 12.1 innings pitched and accumulating an ERA of 8.03.

In 2011, Branden transitioned into the closer’s role where he thrived. He went 4-1 including 18 saves with an ERA of 1.88 in 32 appearances. He struck out 56 batters while walking 22 batters. He was named First-Team All-American by NCBWA, Second-Team All-American by ABCA and Third-Team All-American by Louisville Slugger.

He made three relief appearances with the 2011 USA Collegiate National Team where he did not give up a run in 3.2 innings of work.