The 22-year-old right-hander allowed one hit -- a solo homer -- over six innings Sunday as the Tri-City Dust Devils beat the Everett AquaSox, 3-1, for their first win of the season.
Hughes issued two walks and struck out five in his Northwest League debut.
"It was all about fastball command for me. I think I threw four off-speed pitches all game," he said. "I just let it do its thing. It has a little bit of sink to it, so it kept finding the lower part of the zone. They kept putting the ball on the ground.
"I kept getting outs with it, and until they proved they could hit it, I was going to keep throwing fastballs."
Hughes, whose fastball sits between 89-93 mph but can be cranked up to the mid-90s, retired the first eight AquaSox. His lone mistake came in the fourth, when Christopher Taylor homered.
Although he did not earn the win, Hughes kept pace with Everett counterpart Dylan Unsworth, who also went six innings and allowed a run on four hits.
As well as his season debut went, Hughes said even he didn't see it coming.
"I don't know. You're always striving to do something like this, but you certainly don't expect to throw one-hitters either," he added. "You just go in, control everything you can control and hope the results follow. It was good to get the first win, though, and get the ball rolling here."
The Rockies selected the 6-foot-5 right-hander in the fourth round of the 2011 Draft after he went 7-1 with a 2.50 and 83 strikeouts over 57 2/3 innings for St. Olaf College. He was 2-2 with a 6.50 ERA in 10 appearances, including five starts, for Rookie-level Casper in his pro debut last season. Hughes never pitched more than five innings in the Pioneer League and yielded at least three earned runs in four of his five starts.
Colorado sent the Minnesota native to extended spring training this year, allowing him to mature as he prepared for his second year of pro ball.
"I got a lot of work done down there," he said. "We cleaned up mechanics a little bit, but we were really working on the fastball command. It's coming along pretty well. I pitched up in the zone too much in Casper and got hurt because of it."
While the results were positive Sunday, Hughes said he still has work to do.
"The big thing is consistency," he said, "just going out and doing it again in the next start and the next one after that. I'll probably need to go to my off-speed stuff more though."