Samurai Japan beats Australia again to sweep two-game series


Japan defeated Australia in an international friendly for the second straight night on Sunday, as Takahiro Norimoto and five other pitchers shut out the visitors in Samurai Japan’s 6-0 victory.

Norimoto, who started in the second of the two-game series, struck out five, while allowing one hit in his 27-pitch effort over two innings at Kyocera Dome Osaka.

The series was manager Atsunori Inaba’s first without an age-limit requirement for the national team. The team is gunning for gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“The pitchers who threw yesterday had really good pitches, so I was a bit nervous,” said Norimoto. “I’m happy that I’ll be an active player when Japan hosts the Olympics, and I want to keep doing my best so I’ll be chosen to play at the games.”

The 27-year-old got early run support in the first inning, with Seiji Uebayashi’s two-out, bases-loaded RBI single.

Shogo Akiyama finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs. He doubled the lead in the second with an RBI single to the right field, followed by another RBI single by Go Matsumoto. Japan added two more runs in the sixth thanks to a pair of RBIs by Akiyama and Matsumoto.

The win came a day after Samurai Japan shut out Australia 2-0 at Nagoya Dome.