SouthtownStar Athletes On Campus: Louisville’s Kyle Funkhouser scores multiple awards
While his team’s second consecutive trip to the College World Series did not end with Louisville pitcher Kyle Funkhouser and his teammates celebrating a national championship, the sophomore right-hander can find solace in that his 2014 season was full of accomplishments.
As far as the American Baseball Coaches Association was concerned, the Oak Forest alum was worthy of a place on its All-American First Team, as well as the ABCA’s First Team All-South Region. Funkhouser also was chosen to the All-American Conference’s First Team.
The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association rewarded Funkhouser with a berth on its All-American Second Team, as did Collegiate Baseball newspaper, which put Funkhouser on its Louisville Slugger All-American Second Team. Baseball America and Perfect Game each thought Funkhouser deserving of recognition on their respective All-American Third Teams.
“When I found out about these awards I was very excited,” Funkhouser said. “There are a ton of great baseball players around the country.
“When our media guy (Garett Wall) told me I was an All-American, I was like,, ‘That’s awesome.’ This is just a great honor and a great feeling.”
Statistics bear out Funkhouser’s armful of accolades.
In guiding the Cardinals to a 50-17 overall record (19-5 in the American Athletic Conference), Funkhouser set a single-season record for wins, posting a record of 13-3 with a 1.94 ERA.
He worked 1201/3 innings (second-most in a season) and struck out 122 (third-highest in school history). In 18 starts, he also posted four shutouts while allowing the opposition to bat a paltry .201 against him.
“It was a great season,” Funkhouser said. “I got off to a slow start with a no-decision in my first start, but then I got going, got into a rhythm and got rolling. I got some run support, I pitched well and things seemed to go my way.
“I think the turning point of the year was my start at Houston on April 11 (a 4-2 victory in which Funkhouser struck out eight and allowed five hits and two runs in seven innings.)
“Houston has a great team and a great crowd, and I pitched well. The first four batters got hits, but I matured from innings one through five. I felt I was getting into a groove and ran with that.”
He did so all the way through the regionals and super regionals to being one of eight teams playing in Omaha, Nebraska, in the College World Series. While the Cardinals were eliminated after losses to Vanderbilt (a 5-3 final) and Texas (a 4-1 final), it was an experience the Oak Forest native enjoyed.
“Playing in the College World Series was great,” said Funkhouser, who was the pitcher of record against Vanderbilt. “It was a dream come true. Every player wants to play in the College World Series.
“This was the best field I ever played on. The city of Omaha is awesome. Even if they don’t have a team (for which to root), people are there just to watch baseball. To be able to play there two years in a row is an awesome feeling.”
Two Southland residents who were members of Notre Dame’s hockey team were honored for their performances during the 2013-14 season.
Homer Glen’s Kevin Lind was one of two recipients sharing the William Donald Nyrop Defensive Player of the Year Award. The senior defenseman led the Irish with a career-high 90 blocked shots and had a team-best plus-22 rating for the season.
Lind scored a career-high three goals and added seven assists. He has signed with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks.
Senior center T.J. Tynan was the winner of the team’s Offensive Player of the Year Award for the third time in the past four seasons. The Orland Park resident led Notre Dame in scoring with eight goals and 30 assists for 38 points. He had 91 shots on goal and was plus-15 on the season while having 12 multipoint games to lead the team in that category. Tynan’s 30 assists were one off his career high. He finished 11th in Hockey East in scoring and was fifth in assists for the season.
Tynan, who signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets, had 54 goals and 107 assists for 161 points in his career to tie for 12th on Notre Dame’s all-time points list. His 107 assists tie him for ninth on the all-time assist list.