U of L baseball weekend rotation switch

Jared Ruxer

University of Louisville baseball coach Dan McDonnell will mix up the weekend pitching rotation for a three-game series against Samford. The teams will play Friday at 3 o'clock and then Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.

University of Louisville baseball coach Dan McDonnell said during the preseason that he felt like a number pitchers on his staff could see some time in the weekend rotation.

Now, after four weekends of the same rotation the Cardinals are switching things up.

McDonnell said sophomore Kyle Funkhouser (2-1, 2.84 ERA) will move from Saturday into the Friday spot, while junior Jared Ruxer (3-1, 1.99) goes from Sunday into the Saturday slot. Joe Filomeno will go back into the bullpen with freshman Jake Sparger (2-0, 1.71) likely getting the Sunday nod. But McDonnell said sophomore Anthony Kidston and freshman Drew Harrington will also be looked at in the near future for a weekend start.

Ruxer has been the biggest bright spot.

The Big East Rookie of the Year in 2012, Ruxer struggled last season and was just 0-1 with a 5.63 ERA in 19 appearances for the Cardinals.

"We told him every player goes through it," McDonnell said. "Every player has a tough stretch and it's all about staying strong mentally.

"He's worked hard and he's a smart kid. He's really locked in right now and that's good to see. It's exciting for our weekend rotation."

Ruxer, a native of Indianapolis, Ind., said he couldn't pinpoint one thing that went wrong last season but just "tried to stay positive."

While he saw some signs late last season of things coming back around, Ruxer said it took all offseason to regain his confidence.

In four starts this season, Ruxer has pitched 22.2 innings and allowed 18 hits and five earned runs. He's walked just four and has 24 strikeouts.

"I'm very confident and it kind of keeps going and keeps building," Ruxer said. "Right now, it keeps going and I have three pitches going. I am throwing strikes and have three pitches going. I think that's what really helps now."

Funkhouser has allowed just 19 hits and eight earned runs in 25.1 innings. His loss came to Indiana and he has 18 strikeouts.

Sparger has started two mid-week games and has been in five games this season, allowing just four earned runs in 21 innings.

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