With the college baseball regular season entering the final stretch, the 8th-ranked Louisville Cardinals are in a familiar position. Following up on a trip to the College World Series last season, head coach Dan McDonnell's team is once again ranked among the nation's finest and in the thick of the conference title chase.
Sitting one game behind Central Florida for the AAC lead, U of L (34-11, 11-4) opens an important 3-game weekend series in Tampa, Fla., on Friday night against third place South Florida (24-20, 10-8). With the race tightening and the opportunities dwindling, McDonnell repeats the same message that he has shared with previous squads this time of year.
"It's a fun time of year," said McDonnell. "The kids finish up with school and they're done with their finals. The magnitude of the games gets bigger and bigger, but that's why you play college sports and college baseball. I just want the guys to play hard, enjoy this time and we'll see what happens."
The Cardinals will face one of the nation's best pitchers on Friday night in USF righty Jimmy Herget, who ranks among the top 20 with a 1.27 ERA. Louisville right-hander Kyle Funkhouser (8-2, 2.26) will take the mound on Friday.
Jared Ruxer (7-1, 2.62) will get the start for the Cardinals on Saturday, with Anthony Kidston (5-0, 3.34) throwing in the series final in Sunday afternoon.
Louisville has won seven straight, including a sweep of AAC foe Connecticut last weekend. The Cardinals are seeking their fifth regular season conference championship in the last six years.
"I think we are as good a team as anybody in the country right now, but there's still a ton of potential to be seen with this team and I think this year is only going to get better for us," said Burdi.
First pitch for Friday is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.. Saturday's contest is set for 6:00 p.m., with Sunday slated for 1:00 p.m. All games can be heard on 1570 WNDA or online at: www.newstalk1570.com.