Funkhouser gets Cards off to fast start

University of Louisville sophomore pitcher Kyle Funkhouser started things off on the right path for the Cardinals in the NCAA Tournament on Friday night. Funkhouser was dominant in eight innings of work in a 5-0 win over Kent State.

University of Louisville baseball coach Dan McDonnell visited his players competing in the Cape Cod League last summer.

It's an annual summer visit for McDonnell to catch up with his current guys. On this trip, he sat down with sophomore Kyle Funkhouser.

"I spoke to his dad and I talked with Kyle, and you could tell he was on a mission to be the Friday night guy here," McDonnell said. "It's just been fun to watch him improve and get better as the year has gone on."

Funkhouser not only became the Friday night guy, but he's become one of the top pitchers in the country and proved it again Friday night.

In the opening game of the NCAA Tournament, the sophomore was sensational. He pitched eight innings of scoreless ball and helped the Cardinals to a 5-0 win over Kent State.

"Funk set the tone," McDonnell said. "he attacked the strike zone and we made some plays behind him. He set the tone for us."

Funkhouser is now 13-2 on the season, the second most wins in the country, with a 1.68 ERA and 110 strikeouts in 107.1 innings.

"I've been saying it and I think everybody saw it, Kyle is the cowbell pitcher," McDonnell said. "You put the cowbell around his neck and the rest are supposed to follow in line and follow his lead. But that's what Louisville baseball is.

"That's what (pitching coach) Roger Williams has done. And I can rip off names, you know, Zach Pitts, Justin Marks, Thomas Royse, Justin Amlung, Chad Green. That Friday night guy sets the tone. And if you are going to have a great pitching staff, you have to have a great Friday guy."

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