Louisville Baseball releases 2014 schedule

Senior Jeff Gardner

The University of Louisville baseball program announced its 2014 schedule on Thursday. Schedule features 36 home games, including rivals Indiana and Kentucky.

A day after members of last year's record-setting team received their College World Series and conference championship rings, the Louisville baseball program announced the follow-up to that magical season with the release of the 2014 schedule on Thursday afternoon.

[click here for pdf of schedule]

For the second straight season, the Cardinals are slated to host 36 regular season games at Jim Patterson Stadium equaling the second highest total in school history. Last season, Louisville set a school record for regular season wins with 31 before finishing 34-5 overall at home after sweeping through three games in the NCAA Regional at Patterson Stadium.

The non-conference portion of the 2014 schedule includes three games against another CWS qualifier Indiana, a season-opening tournament at The Citadel, home-and-home midweek matchups with in-state rivals Kentucky and Western Kentucky, a return to Nashville for a midweek showdown against Vanderbilt and midweek games against regional foes Purdue and Ohio State. In Louisville's inaugural season in the American Athletic Conference, they will host weekend series against Rutgers, Memphis, UConn and Cincinnati while visiting Houston, UCF, USF and Temple.

Louisville will open the 2014 season in Charleston, S.C., at the Homewood Suites Tournament where they will play West Virginia (Feb. 14), tournament host The Citadel (Feb. 15) and Delaware (Feb. 16). It will mark the second time in six seasons the Cardinals have played in a tournament hosted by The Citadel, the alma mater of Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell and assistant coach Chris Lemonis.

The Cardinals' 2014 home-opener at Jim Patterson Stadium is set for Feb. 19 at 3 p.m., ET against Eastern Kentucky in a game that will open a 17-game homestand for Louisville. The stand will continue with a weekend series against Western Michigan (Feb. 21-23), midweek games against Eastern Illinois (Feb. 25) and Morehead State (Feb. 26) before closing the month of February with a Friday home game against Toledo on the 28th.

Louisville will open March with the first of three games against Indiana on March 1 at 2:30 p.m., ET in a game that will be preceded by a morning matchup between the Hoosiers and Toledo. The Cardinals will close the weekend with a March 2 home game with Toledo. The following weekend, Louisville will host Miami (Ohio) for a three-game set (March 7-9), before greeting Western Illinois for a pair of midweek games on March 11-12.

Samford will then visit Louisville for a weekend series on March 14-16 to conclude the initial stretch of home games. The Cardinals' second matchup of the season with Indiana is set for March 19 in Bloomington and will be followed by Louisville's American Conference opening weekend against Rutgers on March 21-23 at Jim Patterson Stadium. After a midweek visit to Western Kentucky on March 25, the Cardinals will conclude their non-conference weekend slate on March 28-30 with visits from Xavier and Butler. On Friday (March 28), Louisville will host Xavier for an evening matchup, while on Saturday (March 29), the Cardinals will play Butler in an afternoon tilt. The Saturday game will be preceded by a Xavier-Butler contest, while the weekend will close on Sunday (March 30) with Louisville hosting another contest with Xavier.

The month of April will begin with the first of two matchups with Kentucky on April 1 in Lexington, while the Cardinals' home game with the Wildcats is set for April 15. Louisville returns to conference play on April 4-6 with a visit from Memphis before making a midweek visit to Purdue on April 8. The game in West Lafayette, Ind., will open a two-week span where the Cardinals play seven of eight on the road.

Following Purdue, Louisville will travel to Houston for a three-game conference series on April 11-13, return home to host UK on April 15 and then return to the road for the Cardinals' first ever matchup with UCF on April 17-19 in Orlando. Louisville will close the month of April with five straight at home as WKU visits Jim Patterson Stadium on April 22, followed by a three-game set with UConn on April 25-27 and a midweek matchup with Ohio State on April 30.

The May schedule for Louisville will open with seven straight on the road as the Cardinals visit USF on Kentucky Derby weekend (May 2-4), followed by a midweek trip to Vanderbilt (May 6) in a rematch of the 2013 NCAA Super Regional showdown won by Louisville before closing with a road series at Temple. The conference series with the Owls is set to open on May 9 at Skip Wilson Field in Ambler, Pa., before closing on May 10-11 at Campbell's Field, home of the Camden Riversharks minor league baseball club in Camden, N.J.

The final week of the regular season will have the Cardinals returning home for the third and final matchup with Indiana on May 13 before long-time rival Cincinnati visits Jim Patterson Stadium for a three-game conference slate on May 15-17. The inaugural American Athletic Conference Baseball Championship is set for May 21-25 at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla., while the 2014 NCAA Championship is scheduled to begin on May 30 with regional play. The College World Series in Omaha, Neb., is slated from June 14-24/25 at TD Ameritrade Park.

On Wednesday afternoon, McDonnell distributed the Cardinals' CWS rings to members of last year's squad during a private ceremony inside the Omaha Room at Jim Patterson Stadium. With most of last year's team in attendance, including many of Louisville's current professional players from the 2013 squad, McDonnell and his coaching staff honored each member of that team, which won a school record 51 games and advanced to the College World Series for the second time in program history.

NOTES:

Louisville will continue its commitment to the fan experience by offering FREE ADMISSION to most home games at Jim Patterson Stadium. The lone exception is the April 15 contest vs. Kentucky ($10 reserved seating) to accommodate the high demand.

Louisville returns 19 letterwinners from last year's squad, which won a school record 51 games, the program's fourth regular season conference title in five seasons and hosted NCAA postseason games for the fourth time. The Cardinals capped the season by defeating No. 2 national seed Vanderbilt in the Nashville Super Regional to clinch the program's second College World Series berth and a No. 8 national ranking.

Among the top returnees for Louisville for the 2014 season are senior captains and All-Conference standouts Jeff Gardner and Cole Sturgeon, junior righty pitcher and All-American Nick Burdi, All-Conference shortstop Sutton Whiting, senior catching duo Shane Crain and Kyle Gibson and Freshman All-American pitchers Kyle Funkhouser and Anthony Kidston. A strong group of experienced upperclassmen including the likes of infielders Alex Chittenden, Zach Lucas and Danny Rosenbaum, outfielder Mike White and pitchers Jared Ruxer, Kyle McGrath and Joe Filomeno are joined by a deep and talented set of newcomers setting the stage for an entertaining season on the baseball diamond for the Cardinals.

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