The University of Louisville baseball team opens the 2017 season this weekend with a three-game set at Spectrum field in Clearwater, Fla.
The Cardinals will begin regular season play on Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. when it faces Alabama State. The weekend series will continue with a Saturday evening contest against Maryland at 6 p.m., before finishing on Sunday afternoon to get some Ball State at 1 p.m.
After weeks of preseason work and the offseason team building program called 'The Omaha Challenge,' the team believes it's prepared and is looking forward to facing true competition in Clearwater.
"It's exciting," junior shortstop Devin Hairston said. "We go through all those things in the fall and early in the spring which adds to the excitement. Those things have contributed to our mental and physical toughness and built us for the season, so we're ready to hit the ground running."
Junior left-hander Brandon McKay will get the opening day start, with Kade McClure starting on Saturday and rookie Michael McAvene slated to take the mound on Sunday.
With the sting of coming up just short of reaching the College World Series the previous two seasons, the Cardinals are excited to renew their goal of making it to Omaha.
"It's a great feeling knowing that you made it thorough another fall and spring training," McKay said. "Now we get to do what we've always wanted to do again. We're coming off two rough losses in the Super Regionals the past two years so we're ready to get back at it again."
Louisville, winners of 3 straight season-openers, is quite familiar with Spectrum Field. Serving as the spring training facility for the Philadelphia Phillies, the Cardinals have played at least one game there in nine of the last 11 seasons. UofL had complied a 23-13 record in those contests and have played in season-opener events there in 2011, 2013 and 2015.
The trio of games will be broadcast locally on radio, with 1450 WXVW carrying Fridays game. 93.9 The Ville will have the Saturday and Sunday games.
Cardinal Authority is in Clearwater for the games and will have continuing coverage.