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Monday evening Cardinal news and notes

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Samuel Sweeney is your cure for post-Derby depression. Read more about his story at the beginning of this post.

I_medium The featured star of this evening's Cardinal news and notes is Samuel Sweeney, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of just 18 days old. CF is a life-shortening disease he will battle every day of his life, but a disease for which he has a chance to see a cure in his lifetime because of major progress in medical research.

His family will be taking 'Major Strides' for Samuel and every other local child battling cystic fibrosis at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Walk at Louisville Slugger Field on May 16. You can check out the details of the walk as well as more on Samuel's story right here

The family also welcomes any CC member who has been impacted by Cystic Fibrosis to reach out directly to Samuel's father (CC lurker) for details on the walk, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation or just to share their own story: deryl.sweeney@gmail.com.

Thanks to everyone in advance, and thanks to Samuel's family for sharing his story.

I_medium A quick reminder that you can watch the Louisville baseball team take on Clemson tonight at 7 on ESPNU. This kicks off a huge final two weeks of the regular season for the Cards, which includes a game at Kentucky on Wednesday, a series this weekend with the team directly behind U of L in the Atlantic Division standings, Florida State, and then the annual "Battle of the Barrel" game next Tuesday against reigning national champ Vandy.

I_medium The Cards moved up to No. 2 in the D1-Baseball Top 25 rankings released Monday, the highest ranking in the history of the program.

I_medium Trez gon' Trez.

I_medium The song "Whiskey," which features the pseudo musical debut of one Russ Smith has been officially released.

I_medium The ACC.com's Jacob Dennis serves up three reasons why Louisville is going to make it back to Omaha for a third straight year.

2. Kyle Funkhouser And A Formidable One-Two Punch Atop The Rotation

Chances are slim-to-none that a team will make it to Omaha without an ace who possesses top of the rotation skill. Luckily for Louisville, junior Kyle Funkhouser not only fits the description of "ace," but he is also one of the best pitchers in the country. Also named to the Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list, Funkhouser has been brilliant so far this season. The 6-foot-3 Illinois native possesses a minuscule 2.62 ERA and 1.15 WHIP over a team-high 82.1 IP, as he's fired the Cards lone complete game of 2015 to go along with his 6-3 record.

As Louisville's Friday night starter, Funkhouser has the potential to carry Louisville deep into postseason play. He undoubtedly has a great chance to make it into a big league rotation in the near future. But here's the scary part: Funkhouser might not even be the best pitcher in Louisville's rotation. The aforementioned freshman McKay has even better numbers, forming an extremely formidable one-two punch atop Louisville's starting rotation. So formidable, in fact, that the duo of Funkhouser and McKay are arguably the best combination of starting pitchers on any team in the country.

3. Corey Ray Is A Terror In The Heart Of Louisville's Lineup

Continuing the trend of non-senior stars in the Cardinals lineup, sophomore outfielder Corey Ray has performed incredibly well from the dish in 2015. The numbers are evidence: Ray holds team-highs in runs (37), triples (4), home runs (10), runs batted in (45), total bases (111) and slugging percentage (.572). The top of the Cards' batting order has been terrific, but opposing pitchers haven't been able to pitch around talented hitters like Sutton Whiting and Nick Solak because of the fact that Ray looms in the three spot. Ray is one of those players that makes everyone in the lineup better with his presence, and his ability to get on base has provided McKay plenty of RBI opportunities in the cleanup spot. He is yet another reason that the college baseball world can expect to see the Cards back in Omaha this season.

I_medium Gerald Christian had no idea what Mr. Irrelevant was heading into this year's draft, and now he gets to be in a parade.

I_medium The U of L lacrosse team is headed back to the NCAA Tournament after earning one of the tourney's 13 at-large bids. Here was the team's reaction to the news:

The Cards will face No. 8 seed Northwestern in the first round, the same team which knocked U of L out of the tournament a year ago. The two teams also met earlier this season, with the Wildcats pulling out a 12-10 victory.

I_medium Jon Wilner names Louisville as one of the biggest winners of the 2015 NFL Draft.

I_medium Raneca Parker had an emotional message for her son DeVante on the day he was drafted by the Miami Dolphins.

I_medium ESPN's ACC blog has the Cards at No. 5 in their post-spring ACC power rankings.

5. Louisville Cardinals

2014 record: 9-4

Previous ranking: 6

Just like Florida State, Louisville leaves spring without an official starting quarterback. Though Reggie Bonnafon had a nice spring, it is too early to say what the Cards might look like on offense because of uncertainty at that position and receiver, where five of the top six pass-catchers are gone. Louisville returns just nine starters, leaving many more questions than answers about the roster.

Georgia Tech tops the rankings.

I_medium SB Nation's Houston Astros blog profiles Kyle Funkhouser.

I_medium If you come at the king, you best not miss.

I_medium The U of L men's tennis team is headed back to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in seven years, where it will face Drake in the first round on Friday. The Cards have been to the big dance 11 times, but have never made it past the round of 16.

I_medium SI writes about now-New York Jet Lorenzo Mauldin.

I_medium This would have been the perfect Derby party centerpiece.

I_medium The first bowl projections from ESPN have Louisville facing Ole Miss in the Music City Bowl and Ole Miss in the TaxSlayer Bowl. I wouldn't book trips for either location just yet.

I_medium And finally, I'm on the radio tonight with Mark Ennis from 6-8 on ESPN 680 and ESPNLouisville.com.