Louisville's leader for career wins, Kyle Funkhouser, was named the starter for Regional opener, head coach Dan McDonnell announced on Tuesday afternoon.
The reasoning, as Cardinals skipper Dan McDonnell explained, Funkhouser, who holds a career record of 34-12, was the lone starter who didn't receive significant work during the ACC Championship in Durham, N.C., last weekend, and he, along with pitching coach Roger Williams also like the experience and durability of the senior.
"I'm honored," said Funkhouser, who opted to return to U of L after being a first-round selection by the Los Angeles Dodgers last spring. "We have an excellent pitching staff. I didn't get to start last weekend, and I think it's my turn to start, so I think that's why."
It'll mark the third consecutive postseason that the product of Oak Forest, Ill., will take the mound in Louisville's Regional opener. He tossed eight shutout innings, striking out ten, to pick up a win against Kent State two seasons ago and collected a win last season after working seven innings, striking out six in a win against Morehead State.
This time around he'll face MAC tournament champion Western Michigan in his team's Regional opener with hopes to earning another victory.
"It's big," he said. "It gets you off to a good start. It's a new season. Everybody is 0-0 going into the postseason, it's just a big relief to get that first one under your belt."
The opportunity to walk out on the mound to begin the Cardinals postseason is a special moment.
"It's really cool," he said. "It's one of the most special things that can happen in college baseball is hosting a Regional, or a Super Regional, and getting out there and pitching game one. Fans are electric and ready to go."
Funkhouser, a winner of five straight contests, enters his final postseason at Louisville not only as the program's all-time win's leader, but his 370 career strikeouts, 372.2 innings pitched and 55 starts also rank tops in school history. He also holds the school record for single season wins with 13 in 2014.