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Right-hander Nao Higashihama combined with five pitchers for a four-hit shutout as the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks blanked the Japan national team 2-0 in a practice game on Saturday.

Hiroshima Carp infielder Ryosuke Kikuchi, a member of the 28-man Samurai Japan squad preparing for the March 6-22 World Baseball Classic, went 3-for-4, but the visitors’ bats were otherwise silent for much of the day, disappointing the crowd of 27,003 at Sun Marine Stadium.

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