Camp Fires March 19, 2022

As of Saturday’s six exhibitions, Japan’s “open season” was down to its final 12 games before official league games begin on March 25.

Here we go with Saturday’s games:

At the roofed stadium formerly known as Prince, the Seibu Lions’ top draft pick from last year, Chihiro Sumida worked allowed an unearned run on three walks and four hits over four innings against the Central League champion Yakult Swallows. Former Padre Brian O’Grady had three hits, including an RBI double, while Jose Osuna had two walks and a two-run double for the Swallows. Swallows southpaw Keiji Takahashi allowed five runs on two walks and 11 hits in his final tune-up.

In Fukuoka, neither starting pitcher was all that special with Hiroshima’s Masato Morishita allowing a four-run fourth in his six innings. Nao Higashihama gave up three runs over 4-2/3 for the Hawks. Livan Moinelo struck out all three batters he faced in the eighth, while Yuito Mori stranded a pair in the ninth.

At Sapporo Dome, Shinichi Onuki allowed an unearned run over seven innings, while Fighters lefty gave up four, three earned, over five before Nippon Ham crushed former Fighter Edwin Escobar for four runs in the eighth. Arismendy Alcantara came off the bench with two hits, including an eighth-inning RBI double, while former Tiger and Oriole Renato Nunez had a two-run pinch-hit single in the eighth off of his Venezuela compatriot Escobar.

At Tokyo Dome, Brandon Laird homered for the third time in four games, while lefty Kazuya Ojima, one of the big surprises of Lotte’s pitching staff a year ago, struck out four without a walk over six scoreless innings.

In Nagoya, Akiyoshi Katsuno, who started 17 games for the Dragons last year allowed a hit and a walk over five scoreless innings. Rakuten starter Takayuki Kishi gave up two runs, one earned, over five innings on six hits, and a walk.

At Osaka Dome, the Tigers won their seventh straight preseason game, beating the Buffaloes’ 2021 rookie of the year, Hiroya Miyagi, who allowed four runs on six hits and three walks while striking out nine over six innings. Jefry Marte singled in the Tigers’ go-ahead run in a three-run third and Teruaki Sato followed with an RBI double.

Ippei Ogawa, who had some success in the bullpen last year, allowed two runs over six innings for the Tigers, while Joe Gunkel allowed one hit over the final three. Journeyman Buffaloes lefty Jesse Biddle struck out two of the three batters he faced, while Yoshihisa Hirano stranded a pair in the eighth for Orix.

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