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Indians off to best start in 17 years

The Spokane Indians have had four Northwest League championship teams since 1997, but they hadn't had a team start the season 3-0 in 17 years until they accomplished the feat Sunday with a 5-2 win over Eugene at Avista Stadium. The I997 Indians started 5-0 after a season-opening sweep of Salem-Keizer. Stellar pitching was again on display Sunday, but the Indians had to make the most of their hits to pull off the trick. After collecting 12 hits on Friday and 11 on Saturday, Spokane was limited to three singles, one double and one home run. Zach Cone's solo homer in the sixth was Spokane's only hit after the third inning. Read more

Winning pitcher Derek Thompson was on a tight pitch count, but he never faced more than four batters in an inning after six Emeralds came to the plate in the first inning.

“He didn’t have the typical 75 (pitches), so he was limited,” Indians manager Tim Hulett said. “But he really did a great job the last two innings. He really commanded the strike zone. He had a couple of really easy innings there to get through and get a win out of this.”

“In the first, I was leaving all of my pitches up and I didn’t have a good feel for my fastball,” Thompson said. “But as the game went along, I felt like I got more in control and keeping the ball down low.”

Hulett said the biggest hit of the day was Pinto's two-out, two-run single to center field in the second for a 3-1 lead. Pinto also had four RBIs during Friday's season opener and one in Saturday's win.

“That’s a big hit to get us back in the game, get us back on top,” Hulett said. “I’d rather see 10 hits and seven or eight runs, but we’ll take this.”

Pinto went 1 for 3 to put his average at .500. Spokane second baseman/catcher Seth Spivey is hitting .600 after going 1 for 3. He was awarded another hit from Saturday's game after a scoring change on a hard-hit ball that Eugene first baseman Trae Santos couldn't glove.

Spokane committed errors in the first two innings, but nothing came of them.

The Indians are second in the league in team batting at .296. Boise is hitting .343.

Spokane's team earned-run average is third in the league at 2.33.

Eugene is hitting .200 and has an ERA of 6.38.

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Jim Allen Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jim Meehan Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Josh Wright Josh Wright is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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