SSG Head Coach Kim Won-hyung, “Failure to overcome an early goal was a losing factor”
It was a game that didn’t go as planned, both on the mound and at the plate. After dropping a must-win Semi-Playoff (Semi-Po) Game 2, SSG heads to Changwon with two losses.
SSG lost 3-7 in the second game of the NC and Semi-Po at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on the 23rd. Speaking to the media after the game, SSG head coach Kim Won-hyung summarized, “I think our inability to overcome our early deficit was a factor in our loss.” SSG started their ‘homegrown ace’ Kim Kwang-hyun on the mound, but it didn’t yield any satisfactory results. Kim Kwang-hyun was hit hard by the NC bats in the first inning and gave up three runs.
In the top of the second inning, with one out, he gave up back-to-back singles to Son Asub and Park Min-woo before giving up an RBI single to Park Gun-woo. After the third inning, Kim Kwang-hyun was unable to continue pitching due to an open callus on his left thumb and was replaced by Moon Seung-won for the fourth inning. Kim struggled on the day, allowing four runs on five hits and four walks with one strikeout in three innings. “I tried to get (Moon) up early because of the early runs, and he had a finger injury, so I changed him,” Kim explained.
Moon Seung-won, who took over the mound after Kim Kwang-hyun, pitched four scoreless innings before faltering sharply in the top of the eighth after giving up a solo shot to NC’s leadoff hitter, Kim Hyung-jun. Moon ended up throwing 75 pitches in 4.2 innings, allowing three runs on three hits and three walks with six strikeouts. SSG’s pitching gameplan, which initially had Seung-won in mind as a Game 4 starter, was disrupted. “Seung-won’s ball was good, so I tried to trust him until the end, but I didn’t have time to think about it until Game 4,” Kim said, adding, “I don’t think it will be easy to wait for Game 3.”
Once again, SSG’s lack of scoring power was exposed. Before the game, Kim emphasized the importance of scoring early, saying, “Scoring early in the game makes it easier for the pitchers to pitch.” However, the SSG batting lineup was unable to score after the leadoff hitter reached base three times in a row. In the bottom of the first inning, the first batter, Choo Shin-soo, drew a walk, but Choi Joo-hwan hit a double to end the threat. The ‘signature hitter’ Choi also struck out swinging against NC starting pitcher Song Myung-ki.
SSG had their leadoff hitter come to life in the bottom of the second inning, but couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity. After Guillermo Heredia’s first hit for the team, SSG struck out Han Yoo-seom and Ha Jae-hoon and Park Sung-sung flied out to end the inning. Third leadoff inning. Kim Sung-hyun led off the inning with a walk and Kim Min-sik followed with a straight grounder, but with runners on first and second in the bottom of the order, top 스포츠토토 hitter Choo Shin-soo hit a fly ball to center field and Choi Joo-hwan and Choi Jung struck out in succession.
Han Yoo-seom hit three solo home runs, including two in the fourth and one in the sixth, but it wasn’t enough. It was also difficult to see a turnaround as Kiyong only brought in Kim Kang-min to pinch-hit for catcher Kim Min-sik in the bottom of the ninth inning. “I thought the players who started today were the best lineup,” Kim said.