Funkhouser has a huge outing, Cards win

Dan McDonnell

Sophomore righthander Kyle Funkhouser struck out a career-best 10 in seven shutout innings to lead the No. 7 Louisville baseball team to an 8-0 series-clinching victory over Western Michigan on Saturday afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium.

Working his longest outing of the season, Funkhouser (Oak Forest, Ill.) allowed only two hits and issued just two walks while surpassing his previous career-high for strikeouts of eight against Eastern Kentucky on May 7, 2013. Improving to 1-0 on the season, Funkhouser also earned his sixth career win overall as the Cardinals (5-1) picked up their first shutout of 2014.

"The plan was to attack with the fastball to get ahead and stay ahead and it seemed to work today," said Funkhouser. "It's much easier to pitch from ahead than it is to pitch from behind."

With freshman righty Mason Richardson (Owensboro, Ky.) striking out two in his collegiate debut in a perfect eighth inning and freshman lefty Robert Strader (Louisville, Ky.) adding a strikeout in a perfect ninth, the Cardinals allowed only two hits as a staff on Saturday for the lowest hit total surrendered by them since Alabama had just two hits in a 6-0 victory for Louisville on March 9, 2013. Only once all day did the Broncos (0-5) get a baserunner to second base after they put runners at first and second with one out in the seventh before Funkhouser earned back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.

At the plate, junior shortstop Sutton Whiting (New Wilmington, Pa.) was 2-for-3 with a stolen base and two runs scored in his first start since being hit by a pitch against West Virginia on Feb. 14 and suffering a fractured nose. Senior catcher Shane Crain (Lexington, Ky.) was 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored, senior outfielder Cole Sturgeon (Owensboro, Ky.) added two hits and scored once and senior outfielder Jeff Gardner (Louisville, Ky.) chipped in with a double and two RBI as the Cardinals reached double-figures in hits (10) for third straight game.

Louisville struck quickly on Saturday plating a pair of runs in the first inning against WMU righty starter Chad Mayle. Whiting started things for the Cardinals with a leadoff single, stole second, moved to third on a single by Sturgeon and then scored on a balk by Mayle. Gardner followed moments later with a RBI double down the left field line to plate Sturgeon for the 2-0 lead.

The Cardinals added a run in the fifth when Gardner was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded allowing freshman designated hitter Nick Solak (Woodridge, Ill.) to score, while an inning later, they converted for five more runs. The scoring in the five-run sixth inning started with a RBI single from Crain. Louisville then plated three runs on back-to-back fielding errors by Broncos' third baseman Grant Miller and first baseman Hunter Prince before sophomore first baseman Danny Rosenbaum (Lafayette Hill, Pa.) added a RBI single to end the scoring for the Cardinals.

Mayle was charged with the loss and dropped to 0-2 on the season after allowing three runs, all earned, on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 4.1 innings.

Louisville and Western Michigan will conclude the weekend series on Sunday at 1 p.m., ET at Patterson Stadium and admission is free.

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