In his fifth year in professional baseball Chunichi, pitcher Akira Neo made his first start of the season against Hiroshima at home and pitched well until the sixth inning. He gave up four runs in the seventh inning due to an error, and walked off the mound in the middle of the inning, but he didn't win or lose.
Neo won back-to-back spring and summer championships at Osaka Toin High School and joined Chunichi as a fielder in the No. 1 draft, but switched to pitching in the middle of last season.
In his fifth year, he struggled with control from spring camp, going 5-2 with a 0.7 ERA in the second inning.
Against this backdrop, Neo made his first start of the season against Hiroshima at Vantelin Dome Nagoya.
Neo put the first batter out with a foreball in the first inning, but after striking out the next one to keep the game scoreless, he effectively used his slider and forkball around the 3-kilometer straight from the second inning onwards, limiting him to three hits and not giving up a run until the sixth inning.
In batting, he hit in front of Wright in the second at-bat of the fourth inning to create chances and add an extra run.
Then, in the seventh inning when the lead was six runs, Neo was forced to load the bases with one out due to an error, and lost one run between the infield runs.
He walked off the mound with another foreball and two outs on base.
Neo threw 43 pitches in sixth and two-thirds innings, allowing four hits, two strikeouts, three foreballs and four runs.
In the game, after Neo walked off the mound, Chunichi's relievers tied the game, so Neo could not win or lose, and it was not his first professional win.
Pitcher Neo commented through the baseball team, "I couldn't stick with it at the end, so I'll do my best to be persistent next time."
Neo: "We were able to compete in the strike zone"
After the match, pitcher Akira Neo reflected, "I couldn't stick with it at the end, so I'll do my best to win the next match, and I'm glad that I was able to believe in my straightness and compete in the strike zone."
Regarding his hit in front of Wright in the second at-bat of the fourth inning, he said, "It just so happens that Okabayashi is at No. 4, so I go into the at-bat with the intention of connecting to the top of the order."
On top of that, he expressed his enthusiasm for this season, saying, "I want to throw again and prepare well."