Senior righthander Kyle Funkhouser matched the school record with his 29th career victory as the No. 4 Louisville baseball team completed a series sweep of Virginia Tech with Monday night’s 9-3 win at Jim Patterson Stadium.
A native of Oak Forest, Illinois, Funkhouser finished with 11 strikeouts and allowed just one run on five hits in seven strong innings to improve to 29-11 in his collegiate career and equal the win total first set by Justin Marks (2007-09). Monday also marked the 48th career start for Funkhouser, which equals Marks for No. 1 at Louisville. Funkhouser is also the Cardinals career leader in strikeouts (324) and innings pitched (329.1) achieving both honors earlier this season.
Junior catcher Will Smith was 2-for-2 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored to pace the Cardinals (23-5, 9-3 ACC), who extended their winning streak to six straight. Freshman second baseman Devin Mann was 2-for-5 with two RBI and junior outfielder Corey Ray finished 2-for-4 with one RBI and scored once. Sophomore third baseman Blake Tiberi added two hits and a run scored and sophomore designated hitter Colby Fitch chipped in with a two-run single.
The Cardinals plated the first run of the night in the fourth inning on a RBI sacrifice fly to center by Smith to score sophomore shortstop Devin Hairston. The scoring chance started with a one-out single up the middle by Hairston, who advanced to third on a single to right by Tiberi before scoring.
The Hokies (10-19, 1-11 ACC) evened the score at 1-1 in the fifth inning when catcher Joe Freiday, Jr., doubled to right center, moved to third on an error and scored on a wild pitch.
Louisville moved back ahead for good with a three-run seventh inning against Virginia Tech lefty Packy Naughton. Tiberi led off the inning with a single to left, moved to second on a bunt single by Smith and took third on a sacrifice bunt from freshman Drew Ellis before scoring ahead of a throw home by Virginia Tech second baseman Matt Dauby on a fielder’s choice off the bat of pinch hitter Danny Rosenbaum. Later in the inning, Ray drove Smith home with a RBI groundout to second before sophomore Ryan Summers, pinch running for Rosenbaum, scored on a two-out RBI single to left by Fitch for the 4-1 lead.
Virginia Tech cut into the margin with a pair of runs in the eighth inning on a RBI double down the left field line by Sam Fragale and a RBI sacrifice fly to center by Ryan Tufts. However, the Cardinals answered with five runs in the bottom of the eighth to put the game out of reach. Sophomore first baseman Brendan McKay led off the inning with a double to right center before scoring on a RBI double by Smith. Later in the inning, Smith scored from third on a wild pitch by Luis Collazo before freshman outfielder Josh Stowers scored on a bases loaded walk to Fitch. Mann capped the inning with a two-out, two-run single up the middle to send Summers and Ray home.
Junior righty Zack Burdi finished with three strikeouts in 1.2 innings of shutout relief to record his third save of the season. Naughton was charged with the loss for the Hokies and dropped to 2-4 on the season after allowing five runs on nine hits in 7.2 innings.
Up next, the No. 4 Cardinals begin a stretch of four straight road games against top 15 opponents with a visit to No. 13 Kentucky on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., ET in Lexington. That game, the first of two midweek matchups this season between the Cardinals and Wildcats, will be followed by a weekend series at No. 5 Florida State.
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