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May 24, 2014
Title game? Louisville cheering on Memphis
With a 9-3 win over Rutgers Saturday, Louisville baseball possibly advanced to the American Athletic Conference title game. Or they might have finished their tournament. It depends on Memphis.
Louisville beat Memphis Thursday in their first game of the tournament. Then the Cardinals lost to USF Friday and beat Rutgers. Now, according to the American Athletic Conference tournament format, Memphis could send Louisville to the title game tonight.
If Memphis beats USF Saturday night, Louisville advances to Sunday's title game vs. Houston. If USF wins, the Bulls advance to the title game against Houston and stay alive for a possible automatic NCAA bid. For Louisville, it's a matter of waiting.
"We'll probably just head back to the hotel and whatever happens, happens," starting pitcher Anthony Kidston said. "We can only worry about what we can control."
McDonnell said he is happy with how his team played thus far in the tournament, despite Friday's loss to USF (who held back their ace from the opening game to face Louisville).
"I'm really proud of our guys," McDonnell said. "We played all three games against the top pitchers from each team. I mean, those are all the top guys on their stat sheet, guys with 1.8 or 1.5 ERAs and we swung the bats well all weekend."
UofL also got strong performances on the mound. In Louisville's 13-3 win Thursday, Kyle Funkhouser (12-2) had eight strikeouts while allowing two earned runs on six hits in 6.1 innings. On Friday, freshman Josh Rogers allowed two runs on five hits with three strikeouts in 6.0 innings, but USF's Jimmy Herget allowed just one run on six hits.
Then Saturday, Anthony Kidston allowed just one earned run on four hits, striking out seven. He threw 108 pitches just a year after labrum surgery ended his 2013 season.
"Anthony was really good today," Louisville coach Dan McDonnell said. "On the weekend our guys pitched really well. We feel like we have one of the top weekend rotations especially when you add Jared Ruxer back in there."
Ruxer has been out for two weeks with a forearm injury, but he could return soon - possibly Sunday if Louisville plays Houston for the American Athletic Conference title.
If USF wins, Louisville will fly home and prep for what figures to be a home set of NCAA Regional games starting next weekend. The NCAA pairings will be announced Monday night.