LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) – Kyle Funkhouser thought the first inning was over on a strike em’ out, throw em’ out double play.

The home plate umpire thought otherwise, calling a walk and extending the inning.

“You think the inning is over and now all of a sudden you have runners on 1st and 2nd with one out,” said head coach Dan McDonnell. “I don’t know if last year he would have handled that as well.”

But last year is last year and this year is this year. The Louisville senior calmly struck out the next two batters, setting the tone in Louisville’s 6-1 victory over NC State Sunday afternoon at Jim Patterson Stadium.

Funkhouser arguably pitched his best game of the season, going seven innings, striking out eight, allowing only one run on one hit.

“Funk was the old Funk,” said McDonnell. “From a baseball stand point, just the maturity and the growth. I think the first inning proved it. “

After starting the season slowly, Funkhouser has responded by winning his last four starts.

“It’s one of those things where you are trying to get better every week,” said Funkhouser who improved to 7-3 this season.  “Just being ready for your time.”

It’s been a long road for Funkhouser who returned to Louisville for his senior season to try and improve his draft stock after slipping to the 35th pick in last year’s draft. But instead of a hot start, he struggled. At one point this season he saw his ERA balloon to 5.74.

“A lot it was mental,” said Funkhouser. “I was maybe putting too much pressure on myself.”

Funkhouser couldn’t pinpoint the moment it all changed this season but his teammates say they’ve definitely noticed a swagger from their former ace over the last couple weeks.

“I think he’s decided to be his dominant self again,” said senior first basemen Danny Rosenbaum. “You feel it; it rubs off on everyone when he’s on the mound.”

With the victory the Cardinals stayed two games up on Florida State for first place in the ACC Atlantic. Each team has three conference games left on the schedule.

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