Coach admits mistakes, players stick together…’One Team’ SSG wins ‘Winning Series’ against KIA

SSG’s ‘home run factory’ is still going strong, even without the factory manager. SSG defeated KIA behind a home run quartet of Yu-Sum Han and Guillermo Heredia and a strong pitching performance from starter Robert Duggar.

SSG won 7-5 at home against KIA at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on April 18. Duggar’s two home runs in the first inning and his role in bouncing back from a long slump were key. SSG finished the three-game midweek series with KIA with a 2-1 win and a 1-1 loss.

SSG took an early lead in the first inning thanks to Han Yoo-seom’s two-run blast. With the score tied at 0-0 in the bottom of the first inning, Han Yoo-seom pulled a 122-kilometer-per-hour slider from KIA starter Yoon Young-chul for a leadoff double.

Nine of Han’s 18 hits this season have been home runs. His batting average is in the low double digits, but when he does hit it, it’s over the fence. Heredia’s bat finally exploded on April 4 against Doosan. With the score 2-0 in the second inning, Heredia took Yoon Young-chul’s fastball on the body and sent it over the left-field wall.

Duggar, who had struggled in his previous four starts with a 3-3 record and a 14.40 ERA, did his part. Duggar pitched five innings, allowing one run on three hits and one walk while striking out three. In the top of the fourth, he gave up a leadoff single to Kim Do-young and a walk to Choi Hyung-woo to put runners on first and second with no outs, but retired the rest of the batters to end the inning with minimal damage.

With Dugger on the mound, the top of the sixth inning came to a head. The new pitcher, Cho Byung-hyun, threw a low fastball to Lee Woo-sung with runners on first and second, but gave up a three-run homer to left. Left fielder Heredia chased it all the way to the fence and made a jumping catch, but it wasn’t enough. SSG tied the game in the top of the seventh. After back-to-back singles to Park Chan-ho and Choi Won-joon, Noh Kyung-eun, the new pitcher, put runners on first and third with no outs and scored on a sacrifice fly by Kim Do-young.

SSG fought back immediately. In the bottom of the seventh, Lee Ji-young led off with a single against Jang Hyun-sik. Park Ji-hwan calmly drew a walk to put 토토사이트 runners on 1-2. Choi Ji-hoon laid down a sacrifice bunt toward third base to move Lee from third, but Kim Sung-hyun followed with a single to make it 2-3.

Heredia hit an infield single to deep left-center field off Choi Ji-min, who was brought in to fill the final out, and both runners came home on a throwing error by Park Chan-ho. Noh Kyung-eun (eighth inning) and Moon Seung-won (ninth inning) closed out the remaining innings to preserve the win.

After the game, SSG coach Lee Sung-yong acknowledged his mistakes, saying, “I had a tough game (pitching change in the sixth inning), but the players’ concentration allowed us to win,” and added, “We came together in a difficult situation and achieved the win. It’s about concentration and the power of one team.”

The batting lineup, in particular, filled the void left by Choi, who was unable to play after being hit in the side the day before. “In the outfield, Eredia and Yoo Seom-i had two home runs and six RBIs,” Lee said, “and Sung-hyun’s multiple third-base assists in Jung’s absence were the key to our victory.” SSG leapfrogged Kiwoom, who lost to KT on the day, into third place.

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