The KT Wiz stayed in second place behind strong pitching from starter Ko Young-pyo and a focused batting lineup.
KT extended its winning streak to two games with a 6-2 victory over the NC Dinos in the regular season finale of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Changwon NC Park on Thursday.먹튀검증
The win improved KT’s season record to 67 wins, 3 draws, and 53 losses (0.558), and the head-to-head series between the two teams ended with KT’s advantage (10-6). The gap between second-place KT and third-place NC widened to 1.5 games. NC, which failed to regain the top spot, had a record of 64 wins, 2 draws, and 53 losses (0.547).
KT’s lineup was Kim Min-hyuk (right fielder), Anthony Alford (left fielder), Hwang Jae-gyun (third baseman), Park Byung-ho (designated hitter), Bae Jeong-dae (center fielder), Jang Sung-woo (catcher), Oh Yun-seok (first baseman), Shin Bon-ki (second baseman), and Kim Sang-soo (shortstop). The starting pitcher was Ko Young-pyo.
NC’s lineup was Son Asub (designated hitter), Park Min-woo (second base), Park Gun-woo (right field), Jason Martin (center field), Kwon Hee-dong (left field), Oh Young-soo (first base), Seo Ho-cheol (second base), Kim Hyung-joon (catcher), and Kim Joo-won (shortstop). Starting pitcher Tanner Tully took the mound.
While KT held the offense scoreless in the top of the first inning, it was NC who struck first. In the bottom of the first inning, leadoff hitter Son As-seob hit a double off of Ko Young-pyo after a six-pitch battle, and the next batter, Park Min-woo, followed with a double of his own to bring home Son.
However, with the bases loaded, Park and Martin were retired on a grounder and a strikeout, respectively, and after Kwon Hee-dong walked, Oh Young-soo grounded out to first base to end the threat.
Ko Young-pyo, who was saved from what could have been a big inning, made up for it by retiring NC’s bottom of the order of Seo Ho-chul, Kim Hyung-joon, and Kim Joo-won in order in the bottom of the inning. Young-pyo Koh’s efficient pitching, which required only 11 pitches, stood out.
After being silent in the first and second innings, KT started the third inning. A leadoff single by Shin Bon-ki and a sacrifice bunt by Kim Sang-soo put runners in scoring position, and Kim Min-hyuk, who came up from second base, hit a double to score Shin Bon-ki. It was KT’s first run of the game.
Not satisfied with the tie, KT took the lead for the first time in the game on Alford’s RBI double with two outs. It was a big boost for Ko Young-pyo, who was a bit shaky at the start of the game.
In the bottom of the third inning, NC put pressure on Ko with back-to-back singles by Son As-seob and Park Min-woo. However, with runners on first and second, Park struck out and Martin, who fought a whopping 13 pitches, struck out as well, failing to advance the runners. When Kwon Hee-dong grounded to the shortstop, Park Min-woo was thrown out at second base, ending the inning.
NC had to settle for one run in the bottom of the fourth inning to even the score. After leading off with a double, Oh Young-soo advanced to third on Seo Ho-chul’s grounder to shortstop and came home on Kim Hyung-joon’s single to center field. The score was 2-2.
With both teams stranding runners in scoring position in the fifth and sixth innings and unable to break the 2-2 tie, the tide of the game turned in the top of the seventh inning. NC pulled Tanner, who pitched six innings, and put Song Myung-ki on the mound, and in the top of the seventh, KT regained the lead after a leadoff walk and a sacrifice bunt by Kim Min-hyuk put runners on first and second, followed by an RBI single by Alford.
In the bottom of the seventh, reliever Son Dong-hyun struck out Kim Joo-won, Son As-seop, and Park Min-woo with 11 pitches, and the KT bats attacked the NC bullpen in the top of the eighth. After back-to-back singles by Choi Jae-dae and Jang Jang-woo in the first inning, Oh Yoon-seok, who pinch-hit for Choi, hit an RBI single to score Choi from third base.
After another pinch-hitter, Lee Ho-yeon, walked with the bases loaded and one out, Kim Sang-soo singled to left, scoring Jang Jang-woo from third. The game tilted further in KT’s favor. The score was 5-2.
In the top of the ninth inning, KT sealed the victory. Park Byung-ho, who faced Han Jae-seung in the second inning, launched a solo shot over the right field fence. For the second consecutive game, Park drew an arch in the top of the ninth after hitting one against the Incheon SSG Landers the day before. It was Park’s 14th home run of the season.
With a four-run lead, KT sent Lee Sang-dong to the mound to start the bottom of the ninth, and the game remained scoreless. With the team facing a rather tight schedule, the offense scored when it needed to, allowing closer Kim Jae-yoon to get a day of rest.
Starting pitcher Ko Young-pyo, who hadn’t pitched in 38 days since his last start against the Jamsil Doosan Bears on March 6, earned his 11th win and 19th quality start of the season, allowing two runs on nine hits and one walk while striking out seven in six innings.
Park Young-hyun, who came on as the third pitcher after Kim Jae-yoon and Son Dong-hyun, pitched a scoreless inning with two strikeouts, becoming the first pitcher to reach the 30-hit plateau this season. He also became the youngest pitcher in KBO history to reach 30 in a single season.
At the plate, Jang Sung-woo led the team with five hits, three RBIs and one run scored, while Alford and Bae Joo-dae joined him with multi-hit performances. Kim Sang-soo also did his part, going 1-for-2 with a double, one RBI, one walk and one run scored.
NC starter Tanner was unable to pick up the win after going six innings, allowing two runs on four hits and three walks with eight strikeouts, while second starter Song Myung-ki took the loss after allowing one run on one hit and one walk in ⅓ of an inning. Kim Si-hoon (1 inning, 4 hits, 1 walk, 2 runs) and Han Jae-seung (1⅔ innings, 2 hits, 1 walk, 1 run) also struggled.
After a tough road trip, KT travels straight to Daegu for a series against the Samsung Lions on the 14th and then to Daejeon to face the Hanwha Eagles on the 16th and 17th (including a doubleheader). NC will play at home against the LG Twins on the 14th, followed by Samsung Electronics on the 15th and 16th.