SAPPORO, Japan (AP) Shohei Otani struck out 10 batters over six scoreless innings as Japan beat South Korea 5-0 in the opening game of the Premier12 baseball tournament on Sunday.
Otani, billed as Japan's ace, lived up to expectations in the game played at Sapporo Dome. The 21-year-old right-hander notched three consecutive strikeouts in the fifth inning after South Korea had runners at first and second with no outs.
The quadrennial tournament, which features the top 12-ranked nations, is being organized by the World Baseball Softball Confederation.
Japan enters this year's event as the top-ranked team followed by the United States and Cuba.
The United States, comprised of players from the farm systems of Major League Baseball teams, plays its first game on Nov. 10 against the Dominican Republic in Taiwan.