At the beginning of the season, LG manager Yoon Kyung-yeop asked his players to do three things: play aggressive baseball, never give up, and let opponents know that LG is a tough team.
To play aggressive baseball, I asked them to be aggressive and active not only in hitting, but also in running the bases, playing defense, and pitching. I told them to take each game one game at a time and not give up until the end. In this way, they wanted to make their opponents feel that playing against LG is tricky and difficult.
The game between LG and NC took place on the 안전놀이터 25th at Changwon NC Park. LG fell behind in the first inning when Choi Won-tae gave up a run. It was a big early run.
Choi threw nine pitches in the first inning and allowed three runs. The top hitter, Son As-seob, hit a fastball and singled up the middle. Park Min-woo was hit by a fastball that hit the second baseman’s glove, and he singled to right, putting runners on first and second. Park tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt on a fastball, but the ball got away and the catcher fouled it off.
With runners on first and second, Martin saw the first pitch (a fastball) and drove the second pitch (a changeup) to left for the game’s first run. Kwon Hee-dong took a first pitch (fastball) and lined a single to left-center to make it 2-0. With runners on first and third, Do Tae-hoon hit a two-pitch (fastball) for an RBI single to right center. The score was 0-3 when Choi Won-tae threw just nine pitches.
Choi gave up another big inning in the third. A walk and a sacrifice bunt put runners on first and second. An infield single put runners on first and third, and he gave up an RBI double to Kim Joo-won over the left-center field fence. With runners on second and third, the infield played forward defense, and Ahn Jung-yeol and Son Ah-seob hit singles that just missed the infield. The score was 0-7.
In the top of the fourth inning, coach Yeom Kyung-yup made an early change. He removed Hong Chang-ki and Moon Bo-kyung and brought in Son Ho-young and Lee Jae-won as substitutes. Before the game, Yeom said, “It’s hard for Lee Jae-won to face Pedi yet,” which is why he substituted him.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, he replaced Oh Ji-hwan, Park Dong-won, and Park Hae-min in defense to give the main players a break. Austin, who played as a designated hitter, played until the end. So did Shin Min-jae and Moon Sung-joo. From the end of the fourth inning, the lineup changed to Son Ho-young-Shin Min-jae-Jae-won-Austin-Jung Ju-hyun-Kim Min-sung-He Do-hwan-Moon Sung-joo-Choi Seung-min.
Choi gave up four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, giving him 11 runs (nine earned) on 15 hits on the day. He set career highs for most hits and runs allowed in a single game. With no long relievers on the first team roster, Choi struggled with his command but still managed to get through 93 pitches.
NC starter Pedi has been the best pitcher in the league this season. He threw 11 pitches in the first and second innings, striking out three. He was perfect until the third inning. He had a 154-kilometer fastball and a terrifying sweeper. It was hard to even get a hit, much less overcome a seven-run deficit.
Before the game, Kim Hyun-soo was removed from the starting lineup due to a bad back. LG played the game in their sleeping quarters the night before, and the team arrived in Changwon at 3 a.m. With 38 games remaining, Yeom abandoned the game for the first time this season. LG is in first place, 6.5 games ahead of second-place KT.