Shohei Ohtani of Team Japan pitches in the top of the first inning during the World Baseball Classic quarterfinal between Italy and Japan at Tokyo Dome on March 16, 2023 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Gene Wang/Getty Images)
World Baseball Network
Italy’s run at the World Baseball Classic came to an end at the Tokyo Dome early Thursday morning, when Japan eliminated the team that sported mustaches and had an espresso machine in the dugout as a nod to the country’s culture and love of the highly caffeinated drink by the score of 9-3.
Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani threw 4.2 innings, allowing four hits and two runs, striking out five, and helped his own cause with a hit, a walk, and two runs scored.
Italy’s Dominic Fletcher had three hits and drove in all three Italy runs, while seven pitchers appeared in the game for the Azzuri.
Japan got to Italy reliever Joe LaSorsa for four runs in the bottom of the third, getting on the board with an RBI ground out by Boston Red Sox outfielder Masataka Yoshida that scored Kensuke Kondoh. Two batters later, Kazuma Okamoto hit a three-run homer to left field, sending Kondoh and Ohtani home.
Fletcher’s two-run single in the fifth drew Italy within two, but Japan added three more in the bottom of the fifth and two more in the seventh, and cruised into the semifinals of the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
Japan will play the winner of the quarterfinal between Puerto Rico and Mexico in Miami on Monday at 7 p.m. ET with the game televised on Fox Sports 1.