Flames Beat Butler In League Tournament Opener

Mike Hernandez struck out eight vs. UIC.

CHICAGO - Senior Mike Hernandez struck out a season-high eight in relief but two big innings by UIC doomed the Butler baseball team 10-1 on Wednesday afternoon. The game was the first contest of the 2012 Horizon League Baseball Championship.

Hernandez came into the game with UIC leading 6-0 in the bottom of the 4th. He finished with a strong line of 4.2 innings, allowing four hits and two runs. The eight strikeouts was Hernandez's most since he had eight vs. Milwaukee last year. He also struck out nine twice as a freshman.

The Bulldogs managed just four hits, with freshman Michael Fries leading with a double in the 8th inning. Fries scored on a groundout by junior Lucas Calderon.

UIC's Joey Begel pitched 7.0 solid and efficient innings, allowing four hits. Joe Betcher and Alex Grunenwald each had three RBIs. Grunenwald led UIC with a 3-for-4 effort and a home run.

UIC scored five runs in the 1st inning to put the game away. The Flames got four more in the 4th and Grunenwald's homer in the 7th.

Butler, the tournament's No. 5 seed, will play either Milwaukee or Youngstown State in an elimination game Thursday, May 24. That game will be at 11 a.m. ET (10 a.m. CT).