Technical support issues
Lee Ji-gang pitched well with four hits, one walk and one strikeout in five innings in an away game against the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League KIA Tigers at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field on the 19th.
He started as a fifth starter this season. Then, he stepped down as a starting reserve and went down to the second division. He has played in 17 games this season and has a 3.97 ERA with three losses and one hold without a win. Lee Ji-gang, who was called to the first division again at the end of August, pitched in three games as a bullpen in a long relief role and recorded three ⅓ scoreless innings.
Lee Ji-gang was given a chance to start as Choi Won-tae, who came from Kiwoom as a trade, went down to the second division due to poor performance.
And he pitched well against Gwangju KIA and finally held his first victory since his debut.
Before the game, manager Yeom Kyung-yeop said, "I hope (Lee) will drag it out for a long time." The wish of the head coach came true.
Lee Ji-gang allowed Na Sung-bum and Choi Hyung-woo consecutive hits with two outs in the first inning, but Kim Sun-bin finished the first inning by turning it into a ground ball to second base.
In the second inning, he made a three-and-out inning against Socrates, Hwang Dae-in, and Han Seung-taek. In the third inning, Moon Bo-kyung's home run gave him a 1-0 lead, Kim Do-young walked two outs later and Na Sung-bum allowed a right-handed hit, facing a crisis again. He caught No. 4 Choi Hyung-woo with a fly ball to right field and did not lose a point.
Moon Bo-kyung's consecutive homeruns widened the gap to 4-0. Lee Ji-gang regained stability in the fourth inning. He turned Kim Sun-bin, Socrates, and Hwang Dae-in with fly balls and ground balls. In the fifth inning, Choi Won-joon hit a hit after two outs, but he finished his task by catching Kim Do-young with a fly ball to right field.
He pitched a total of 72. He overwhelmed Kia's batters with 43 fastballs, four curves, six sliders and 16 changeups.
The process of winning the first game was not smooth. This is because KIA's pursuit was strong. Starting with Choi Hyung-woo's solo home run in the sixth inning, Na Sung-bum's two-run timely hit in the eighth inning followed 4-3.
LG made a winning move to raise Ko Woo-suk in the eighth inning and secured the victory by winning two innings of saves.
Lee Ji-gang, who I met after the game, said, "I was thinking to myself, 'It's really hard to win my first game.' At the end, (the late) Woo-suk, Min Jae-hyung, and other brothers blocked it well. I still can't believe it. I'm so proud. There are many players who retire without winning, and I'm so honored and happy to come to the pro and win one game," he said.
Lee Ji-gang started against Gwangju KIA on October 6 last year and remembers throwing well with one run in five innings. I recalled good memories again.
"I thought of it then and went up saying, 'I feel good today,' which led to a good result. I remembered a lot about last year. "I think it was good that I went up with a positive mind like, 'I did well last year, so I can do well today,'" he pointed out.
LG's players selected during the 2019 rookie draft are playing an active role. LG fans nicknamed them the legendary 2019 draft (1st Lee Jung-yong, 2nd Lee Sang-young, Jung Woo-young, Moon Bo-kyung, etc.).
Lee Ji-gang is also a player who joined LG in the second 9th round in 2019. However, the classmates are doing well, of which Lee Ji-gang did not blossom. However, it was successful to resolve it on this day.
"I came up to the first team a little late," he said. Last year was a bit of an experience, and it's a proper thing to do this year. I've always wanted to play baseball with my colleagues and be named in the legendary 2019 draft. We got to do it together this year, and Bokyung did a good job today. I'm really proud, he said. "Now I'm so happy to announce that it's the 2019 draft."
In the future, it has not been decided whether Lee Ji-gang will take the 5th starting position or play as a long relief again. Lee Ji-gang said, "I'm always ready. Whether it's a bullpen, a starter, or any position has no complaints. I'm not yet a settled player. It's right to throw the best where the team wants it. I wish I could throw a lot in any situation. I hope you can write it anytime," he said, appealing to director Yeom Kyung-yeop.
Wednesday, September 20, 2023