(Tokyo) Shohei Ohtani allowed no runs in his first four innings on the mound and contributed to a four-run push with a good bunt for a third-inning single in Japan’s 9-3 win over Italy , Thursday, at the World Baseball Classic.

This win ensures Japan to participate in one of the two semi-final matches for a fifth consecutive edition. His opponent, next Monday in Miami, will be Puerto Rico or Mexico. These two countries will face each other on Friday in Miami.

The other semi-final on Sunday will see Cuba take on the United States or Venezuela, who will meet on Saturday.

In front of an adoring crowd of 41,723 at the Tokyo Dome, Ohtani set a personal best with the fastest pitch since joining the Los Angeles Angels in 2018.

In the second inning, he struck out Vinnie Pasquantino three times with a 102 mph fastball. On September 10, he had reserved the same fate for Kyle Tucker, of the Houston Astros, with a shot at a speed of 101.4 mph.

Ohtani (2-0) gave up two runs, four hits and walked one in four and two-thirds innings. He had five strikeouts. At the plate, he got a hit in four appearances, in addition to a walk. He scored two points.

His batting average since the start of the tournament is .438 (7-for-16), with one home run, three doubles and eight RBIs. On the mound, he posted a 2.08 ERA and had 10 strikeouts.

If Japan reach the final on Tuesday, they could be available to start with four days off.

Ohtani extended his streak to eight and two-thirds without giving up runs, before Dominic Fletcher hit a weak single to right field after two out in the fifth inning. It was Ohtani’s 71st and final throw, nine shy of the maximum allowed.

Offensively, Masataka Yoshida, a Boston Red Sox player, scored the first run of the game with a ground ball to the infield in the third inning. It was his 10th RBI, a tournament high.

Kazuma Okamoto added a three-run homer in the third inning for Japan, which outscored the rivals 47-11 in runs scored in their first five outings.