College baseball: Spain spins gem, Vulcans pick up first win

UH-Hilo photo Dylan Spain pitched UH-Hilo to a 3-0 victory against Saint Martin's on Sunday at Wong Stadium, limiting the Saints to one hit in seven innings with six strikeouts.

When you’re a sophomore pitcher such as Dylan Spain who got in precious little high school experience, you figure to endure high and lows.

His opening day start wasn’t so great, but Spain delivered a peak performance Sunday night that was tantalizing special.

The 6-foot-6 right-hander tossed one-hit ball through seven innings and retired 20 batters in a row as the Vulcans beat Saint Martin’s 3-0 at Wong Stadium for their first victory of the season.

“That’s the kind of game that we all knew Dylan had in him,” coach Kallen Miyataki said in a release. “He was hitting his spots tonight and his fast ball was touching the low 90’s.”

Spain (1-1) struck out six and didn’t walk a batter and was backed by Edison Sakata’s two-run single.

Spain allowed a one-out double to Bryant Nakagawa in the first, retiring the next two batter on flyouts, then didn’t allow another baserunner.

Deric Valoroso pitched a perfect eighth inning and John Kea worked around a one-out single by striking out two batters for his first career save.

The Saints of Lacey, Wash, were playing their opener. Coming off a 17-30 season, they were selected to finish fifth in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

The Vulcans (1-4) scored all their runs in the second. Dylan Sugimoto and Mano Manago walked, moved up on a bunt by Micah Carter, and Sakata’s hit to right scored both. After a walk loaded the bases with one out, Carter scored before Saint Martin’s could complete a double play.

Sakata produced two of UH-Hilo’s seven hits, and is 5 for 12 through five games.

Mickey Walker walked five in four innings and took the loss before Tanner Inouye worked four scoreless innings.

Neither team committed an error and the Saints turned three double plays.

The teams are back at Wong for a 4 p.m. doubleheader Monday.

Spain struggled in his opening day assignment Feb. 1 against Augustana, allowing eight hits and six runs in three innings.

After limited time on the mound in high school at Saint Louis on Oahu, Spain started 10 games as a freshman, including throwing seven shutout innings against Academy of Art.

“He has the potential to be one of the top pitchers in the PacWest,” Miyataki said before the season. “He still is young in terms of pitching experience.”

On Sunday, his potential shined through.