After a tough month against some of the top competition in the country, Funkhouser was dealing for seven innings on Saturday night against Morehead State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament at Jim Patterson Stadium.
The junior right-hander had his fastball in the mid-90s much of the night, scattered six hits and allowed just two runs as the Cardinals downed the Eagles 7-2 before 5,143 fans. Funkhouser struck out six.
"We needed him to set the tone and get us off to a good start," U of L coach Dan McDonnell said. "He attacked the strike zone and did exactly what we needed tonight."
Funkhouser, expected to be a top 15 pick in the June Amateur Draft on June 8, won his 26th career game for the Cardinals. He ranks second all-time in U of L history but had just one win in his last four starts.
"I kind of re-set my mind a little bit," Funkhouser said. "My previous stats were kind of our the window and it's basically win or go home, so I just had to give my team a chance to win."
While his velocity had been down a tad in recent weeks, Funkhouser said it felt much better after a "really good week" of preparation coming into the NCAAs. He threw 96 MPH on pitch No. 111 in the seventh inning.
"He seemed to be able to sustain his velocity longer than he did on the video," Morehead State coach Mike McGuire said. "He kind of handled us pretty good the first time and a half through the lineup."
Funkhouser moved to 8-5 on the season and lowered his ERA to 3.25.
"I wanted to give my team a chance to win," Funkhouser said. "We had an extra day this week and we long tossed and I backed off a bit in the weight room. I feel 100 percent and my body felt great."
While Funkhouser was dealing on the mound, the Cardinals had 10 hits on offense. Freshman Devin Hairston was 4-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI, while center fielder Logan Taylor had two hits and two RBIs.
Corey Ray added an RBI triple, while Sutton Whiting had an RBI double and Will Smith an RBI single.
"It's a good start," McDonnell said. "We just have to take them one game at a time and worry about ourselves."