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Unable to overcome early losses and lose again

KT Wiz was driven to the brink after suffering two consecutive losses in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League Playoffs (PO).

In the second home game of the PO held at KT Wiz Park in Suwon on the 31st, KT lost 2 to 3 despite a last-minute catch-up due to the concentration of NC, which is continuing its formidable rise in the postseason.

As a result, KT, who suffered two consecutive losses at home, was headed to Changwon, facing the precipice of being eliminated if they lost even one more game out of the remaining three games. Game 3 will be held at NC Park at 6:30 pm on the 2nd.

NC, which showed tremendous batting power in the postseason, exploded from the first inning on this day. Leadoff hitter Son Ah-seop retired to second base with a ground ball, but after Park Min-woo advanced with a base hit, Park Geon-woo hit Benjamin's 139 km/h first pitch cutter and hit a two-run home run over the left wall.

Benjamin, who gave up 2 runs in the first half, seemed to stabilize by hitting 5 batters in a row until the 2nd inning, but gave up an additional run in the top of the 3rd inning. After leadoff hitter Kim Joo-won advanced to base with a triple to right-center, first baseman Park Byeong-ho missed Son Ah-seop's ordinary grounder and Kim Joo-won hit home. Afterwards, Park Geon-woo was in crisis with one out and runners on first and second base, but he caught Martin and Kwon Hee-dong with fly balls to prevent additional runs.

KT's batting lineup was lethargic until the middle of the game that day. Moon Sang-cheol only hit a double with two outs in the second inning, but the rest were unable to attack NC starter Shin Min-hyuk and were busy hitting the ball. The team struggled with one hit and one out until the seventh inning, putting to rest the words of manager Lee Kang-cheol, who said, “We experienced Peddie’s pitching yesterday, so today will be easy.”

KT's first opportunity came in the 7th inning while Dong-Hyun Son, who had been in the game since the 6th inning, pitched well by throwing three batters in two consecutive innings. After one out, Alford got his first walk from Shin Min-hyuk, who was pitching well, and when Park Byeong-ho grounded to third base, second baseman Park Min-woo made a catching error, creating a chance with one out and runners on first and second base. However, Jang Seong-woo's batted ball went straight toward NC's second pitcher Ryu Jin-wook and was ruled a double play, canceling the score.

KT, who was continuing the frustrating trend, had the best scoring opportunity of the day with one out and one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, when pinch hitter Kim Min-hyuk's walk was followed by a hit in front of the left fielder, and NC left fielder Kwon Hee-dong made a catching error, with one out and runners on second and third base. Then, Oh Yoon-seok replaced Park Gyeong-soo as a pinch hitter and made up for one run with a sacrifice fly to center field, and Kim Sang-soo stole a timely hit in the middle against pitcher Lee Yong-chan, who had been replaced, and chased the team 3-2.

KT, who set the tone, had Hwang Jae-gyun hit his first heavy hit as a PO and continued the opportunity with 2 outs and runners on 1st and 2nd bases, but Alford struck out on 3 pitches, pouring cold water on any chance of tying the game or leading to a comeback.

KT, who went on the attack in the bottom of the 9th inning with 'King of Holds' Park Young-hyun, who came on the mound in relief from the 8th inning, pitching 2 innings with 1 hit and no runs, was in a situation where lead hitter Park Byeong-ho advanced to base with a heavy hit, and pinch runner Lee Sang-ho was signed for a hit and run. When Seo Jang Seong-woo hit next to the second baseman, he ran all the way to third base, creating an opportunity to get to first and third base with no outs.

However, KT failed to tie the game with Moon Sang-cheol striking out, and while Kim Jun-tae struck out with 1 out and runners on 1st and 3rd bases, 1st base runner Jung Jun-young stole second base and continued the opportunity with 2 outs and 2nd and 3rd bases. Bae Jeong-dae then intentionally advanced on 4 pitches, giving the bases loaded with 2 outs, and Oh Yoon-seok's hit hit was caught by NC shortstop Kim Joo-won's diving catch and had to hit the ground.

On this day, KT starting pitcher Benjamin gave up 3 runs on 4 hits in 5 innings, but despite a relatively good pitch, he did not receive support from the batting line and suffered another defeat following William Cuevas the previous day.

On the other hand, NC starter Shin Min-hyuk used a good mix of changeups and cutters over 6⅓ innings, allowing 1 hit, 1 walk, and no runs against 22 KT batters, giving the team consecutive


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Wednesday, November 29, 2023
 
 
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