CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Junior righthander Kyle Funkhouser matched a career-high with 12 strikeouts and allowed just one hit in seven shutout innings to lead 10th-ranked Louisville to a 5-1 season-opening win against Alabama State.
Competing in the first game of the four-team Opening Weekend Challenge at Bright House Field, Funkhouser retired the final 20 batters he faced after allowing a single and a walk in the first inning. The All-American equaled his strikeout total at Temple last May and improved to 19-4 in his collegiate career with Friday's performance.
At the plate for the Cardinals, sophomore outfielder Corey Ray had two doubles, an RBI and a run scored, while sophomore infielder Nick Solak added a pivotal two-out, two-run single to help break the game open. Sophomore outfielder Logan Taylor was 2-for-3 with one RBI and scored once, while senior infielder Sutton Whiting added two singles and two stolen bases.
Louisville opened the scoring in the third inning on Friday after redshirt freshman designated hitter Blake Tiberi delivered a RBI sacrifice fly to centerfield to score Ray for the 1-0 lead against Alabama State starter T.J. Renda. The inning started with a double to center field by Ray, who took third on a single by senior infielder Zach Lucas.
The margin remained at just one until a three-run seventh inning for the Cardinals ended any hopes for the Hornets. The scoring started with Solak sending a two-out offering from Renda up the middle to score sophomore outfielder Colin Lyman and Taylor. Ray followed with a stinging RBI double off the right-field wall to plate Solak for the 4-0 lead.
Taylor added a RBI single to right in the top of the eighth before Alabama State connected for its only run of the night on a RBI double to left by pinch hitter Hunter Allen. Louisville freshman righty Lincoln Henzman recorded the final six outs of the game for the Cardinals.