Yoel HERNANDEZ struck out 10 in a complete game three-hit shutout on Monday as Spain blanked Russia in a must-win game for the tournament host.
The 33-year-old righty limited the Russian National Team (0-3) to only one base runner over the final five innings. The Marlins Puerto Cruz ace pitcher also retired 15 of the last 16 batters he saw.
Spain took a 2-0 lead in the third when Daiel SANCHEZ and Daniel FIGUEROA both crossed home plate. The 2005 Bronze medalist added two insurance runs in the seventh to make the final tally 4-0.
Daniel FREIRE was 2-for-3 while SANCHEZ scored two runs and Dewis NAVARRO had a hit and an RBI. Alexander NIZOV, Andrey BOLOTIN, and Andrey KRIPOCHIN each had a hit for Russia.
The Spanish National Team will battle Italy in a Pool B showdown on Tuesday while Russia will meet Ukraine in what could be a hotly-contest affair.