The highly anticipated, marquee out-of-conference series for the #2 Louisville baseball program didn't get off to the start that Dan McDonnell or Kyle Funkhouser would have liked for it to have Friday night.
The Cards dropped the contest 6-5 in Oxford after a rough start for Funkhouser. The ace struggled to get in a zone in the first inning walking two batters and giving up a deep two run home-run. It appeared as though Funk had zoned in as he struck out four of the minimum six batters he faced in the second and third innings. The fourth inning is where it fell apart as Ole Miss got four runs on two hits and took a 6-1 lead.
The biggest positive that we can take out of tonight's game was the effort out of the bullpen for the Cards, not giving up a run after the fourth inning. Chandler Dale, Sam Bordner and Lincoln Henzman only gave up three hits in the final four frames and the Cards offense just barely fell short during the rally.
At the plate the Cards were led by Nick Solak, Brendan McKay and Blake Tiberi. Tiberi hit a solo shot while going two for five with two RBI. McKay reached base in four of his five plate appearances and Solak scored two runs on a two of five performance from the plate. Corey Ray tried to lead a charge in the eighth hitting an RBI double to bring Louisville within a run. The Cards weren't able to manufacture much more the rest of the way though.
One of the perks of this series is the atmosphere at Swayze Field in Oxford, Mississippi. The stands were scattered inside the stadium, but the outfields were rocking most of the night as a strong student presence packed the berms. As tradition when the Rebels hit a homer the students throw their solo cups in the air and participate in a beer shower. It really is a cool scene.
The two teams will be back in action tomorrow at 2:30 with McKay getting the nod on the bump. Go Cards, Take the Series!