02/11/2019 - 17/11/2019

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II Premier12 2019 - Official Payoff

Japan comes from behind, defeats brave Australia

Japan comes from behind, defeats brave Australia
The Aussie took a lead into the seventh. Their bullpen wasn't as effective as in the key game of the opening round against Canada. Samurai relievers Kaino and Yamasaki were untouchable.

No. 1 ranked Japan beat World number 7 Australia, 3-2, in front of almost 18,000 fans at ZOZO Marine Stadium in Chiba and remains undefeated in the 2019 WBSC Premier12.

Australia gave Samurai Japan a tough game at ZOZO Marine Stadium in Chiba, taking an early lead. Third baseman Darryl George doubled in the top of the third off Japan's starter Shun Yamaguchi and scored on a base hit by right fielder Tim Kennelly. Australia added a run in the top of the fourth on a double by designated hitter Mitch Nilsson.

"Yamaguchi allowed a couple of runs," commented Samurai Japan manager Atsunori Inaba. "I still he pitched a good game, throwing a lot of strikes."

Japan got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth. Right fielder Seiya Suzuki homered against starter Australia's starter Dushan Ruzic.

"I wanted to keep batters off-balance," commented Ruzic. "I watched videos to understand their swing better. I tried to stay away from what they regularly see. Everything went well for three innings. Suzuki saw that pitch pretty well. He did what needed to be done."

"The home run changed everything," added Atsunori Inaba. "We had struggled and I think the team was feeling down. The home run got us going."

"I was just trying to get on base," added Seiya Suzuki. "It went better. I think I had a very good at-bat and I'm glad I got everybody excited. I'm hitting cleanup, playing for my country, I need to do the best I can."

That lead stood until the seventh. Designated hitter Masataka Yoshida singled and Ukyo Shuto pinch-run for him. Shuto advanced to second on the first out, then stole third. He scored on a two-out bunt by shortstop Sosuke Genda.

"Stealing third was big," commented Atsunori Inaba. "There was no sign, the bunt was a decision by Genda."

Relief pitcher Luke Wilkins tried to tag Shuto for the out but couldn't.

"He had two options," commented Australia's manager David Nilsson. "It would have been a close play in both cases. I don't think he should have tried to get the third out at first. I'd rather see the ball flipped to the catcher in that situation, but it looks easier when you are not on the field. I tip my hat to Shuto, one of the fastest players in the game."

Reliever Jon Kennedy gave up three walks, one intentional, in the bottom of the eighth and allowed the go-ahead run.

Hiroshi Kaino and Yasuaki Yamasaki proved untouchable for Australia's lineup in the eighth and the ninth inning.

"Australia had very good pitching tonight," added Atsunori Inaba. "We also pitched a very good game. We need to keep coming together as a team to keep winning."

"It was a very good game and we also enjoyed a lot the atmosphere, how the crowd makes noise, how they enjoy the game." said on a final note David Nilsson.

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