Read the full story on SportsLook - [JAPAN SPORTS NOTEBOOK] Shuta Ishikawa Achieves Goal of Throwing a No-Hitter
Making the 164th pitching appearance of his NPB career, Shuta Ishikawa was an unstoppable force on Friday, August 18.
The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks starter faced 31 batters and issued three walks. He hit a batter and struck out nine in a 2-hour, 36-minute contest against the Saitama Seibu Lions. Those stats were not the biggest numbers, however.
What the announced crowd of 34,747 who showed up for the Pacific League game at Fukuoka's PayPay Dome will remember for years to come is this: Ishikawa tossed the 99th no-hitter in an NPB regular-season game. And he twirled the first no-no of the season.
The Hawks defeated the Lions 8-0.
SoftBank jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second inning, giving Ishikawa more than enough run support on a night when he was at the top of his game.
In the seventh inning, Hawks third baseman Ryoya Kurihara helped keep the no-hitter alive with two strong defensive plays ― back-to-back grounders to open the inning.
Ishikawa wrapped up his no-hitter by getting Lions designated hitter Takeya Nakamura to ground out to Hawks first baseman Akira Nakamura.
Shuta Ishikawa Looks Back at His No-Hitter
After SoftBank's joyous celebration on its home field, Ishikawa shared some insights about his general approach to pitching.
"Every time I take to the mound, I think about a no-hitter and then give up a hit in the first inning," Ishikawa said, according to Kyodo News. "As a result, I tend to just think about one batter after the next. So at the end, I was like that, and maybe not that conscious of it being a no-hitter."
Ishikawa acknowledged that the no-hitter was a team effort.
"I didn't think I would be able to achieve this," Ishikawa was quoted as saying by Kyodo News. "But I had some luck and the fielders got the outs, and I'm grateful to them."
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Author: Ed Odeven