The NC Dinos advance to the playoffs with a sweep of the SSG Dinos.
NC defeated SSG 7-6 in Game 3 of the semifinals of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO Postseason at Changwon NC Park on Friday.
Returning home after two straight wins away from Incheon, NC took game three and wrapped up the series with three wins. NC, which has been winning in the fall baseball stage, will now play the playoffs against KT Wiz, which finished second in the regular season.
On the other hand, SSG, who traveled to Changwon with two losses, needed a win, but ended their fall baseball campaign in vain with a one-point loss.
NC struck first.
In the bottom of the first inning, Jason Martin singled, Kwon Hee-dong doubled, and Seo Ho-cheol hit back-to-back long balls to score three runs.
But SSG answered right back.
In the top of the second inning, SSG scored their first run on Guillermo Heredia’s push single with the bases loaded, and Choi Jung hit a grand slam to make it 5-3.
However, SSG’s joy was short-lived. NC’s bats were on fire again.
In the bottom of the second inning, with runners on first and second, Park Gun-woo singled off the new pitcher, Noh Kyung-eun, and Martin, who came up to bat, crushed Noh’s first pitch for a three-run homer to make it 7-5. SSG then cut the deficit to one run in the top of the fourth inning when Han Yoo-seom doubled to left-center field with the bases loaded.
NC had the lead again, but the bullpen stepped up and prevented further damage.
After two outs in the top of the fifth, Kim Young-gyu, who came on in place of Lee Jae-hak, who had to go down with an injury, tossed 1⅓ scoreless innings, followed by relievers Ryu Jin-wook (⅔ scoreless innings), Lim Jung-ho (1⅓ scoreless innings), and Lee Yong-chan (1 scoreless inning) to close the door on the series.
For SSG, the loss of starter Oh Won-seok to an early exit after giving up five runs in 1⅓ innings, followed by a home run by Noh Kyung-eun, who came in as a fireman, was painful. The loss was made all the more bitter by the fact that the bases were loaded with no outs.
Martin, who hit the game-winning three-run shot, was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of Game 3 of the semifinals, while pitcher Kim Young-gyu, who was a pillar of the bullpen throughout the series, was named the Series MVP.
Martin will receive 1 million won in prize money, while Kim will receive 2 million won as a consolation prize.
NC, which swept the Doosan Bears and SSG in fall baseball, will play a best-of-five playoff series against KT starting on October 30. Games 1, 2, and 5 will be held at KT’s home stadium, KT Wiz Park in Suwon, while games 3 and 4 will be held at NC’s home stadium, Changwon NC Park.