Hanwha blows 9th-inning chance, Hwang Jae-gyun hits 11th-inning grand slam

Hwang Jae-gyun’s game-winning double in the 11th inning of an extra-inning tiebreaker gave the KT Wiz the win. The Wiz have won four straight games and moved up one spot to eighth place.

KT won 6-5 against the Hanwha Eagles in the 2024 Shinhan SOL Bank KBO League at Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon on Tuesday.

In a game that went into extra innings after Hanwha missed a chance to end a two-out rally in the bottom of the ninth, Hwang Jae-gyun hit a game-winning double to left field off Park Sang-won in the top of the 11th. He was followed by Kang Hyun-woo, who went 2-for-4 with a triple and a home run.

KT, which has won four straight games, moved up to eighth place with a 37-44-2 record (.457 winning percentage), pushing Hanwha (35-43-2, .449 winning percentage), which has lost two straight games, to ninth place.

The game started off in Hanwha’s favor. In the bottom of the second inning, Noh Si-hwan and Ahn Chi-hong singled to left to load the bases against KT starter William Cuevas. Chae Eun-sung was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs, but Kim Tae-yeon hit a fastball to shortstop for a 6-4-3 double play. After Noh Si-hwan singled home the go-ahead run, Hanwha tacked on another run when Lee Do-yoon singled up the middle. A heavily bound ball in front of Cuevas sailed over his head and into center field.

Meanwhile, Hanwha starter Ryan Weiss continued to pitch well. He retired 10 straight batters before giving up a single to left field to Kang Baek-ho with one out in the top of the fourth inning, then induced a grounder to shortstop to end the fourth inning with just 12 batters faced. But in the top of the fifth, Oh Jae-il singled to right and Kim Sang-soo walked to put runners on first and third with one out. KT catcher Kang Hyun-woo pushed a 139-kilometer-per-hour sweeper high and away from Weiss’ five-pitch at-bat over the right-field wall. It was the first three-run homer of the season for Masu-girl.

In the next at-bat, KT loaded the bases with a single to left by Oh Yoon-seok, a single to left-center by Jung Jun-young, and a walk to Mel Rojas Jr. It was a chance to put the game out of reach, but Kang Baek-ho grounded out to first base on the first pitch and then Choi Jae-dae fouled out to first base to end the threat. Hanwha first baseman Kim Tae-yeon made a jumping catch in the outfield to end the inning.

Hanwha evened the score in the bottom of the fifth inning. After a single to left by Hwang Young-mook and a walk to Jang Jin-hyuk, Yodana Peraza singled up the middle to tie the game at 3-3 with runners on first and second. However, with runners on first and second, Noh Si-hwan struck out swinging after an eight-pitch at-bat, and Ahn Chi-hong’s well-hit pitch was caught in the right-field corner.

The score remained 3-3 until the ninth inning. Han Seung-hyuk in the seventh, Lee Min-woo in the eighth, and Joo Hyun-sang in the ninth each pitched a scoreless inning. KT also pitched a scoreless seventh inning, followed by Kim Min-soo in the eighth, but Hanwha had a chance to close it out in the bottom of the ninth. After Kim Tae-yeon singled up the middle with one out, pinch-hitter Lee Won-seok was brought in. KT responded by removing Kim and bringing in Park Young-hyun for the closer. After Lee Do-yoon struck out on a wild pitch, Lee Won-seok stole second and moved to third on an error, but Choi Jae-hoon grounded out to second to extend the game.

Both closers kept the game scoreless in the 10th inning, sending the game to the 11th inning. KT had the last laugh. After Oh Jae-il singled to right off Hanwha reliever Park Sang-won in the top of the 11th, Hwang Jae-gyun stepped in. It was 27 days after Hwang’s bench-clearing 무료성인웹툰 rant against Park Sang-won in Suwon on May 5, and Hwang won the showdown. He fouled off a bunt in the first inning, but pulled Park’s second-pitch slider for a double down the left-field line. Park Min-seok sprinted home from first base to give KT a 4-3 lead.

Kim Sang-soo then fouled off back-to-back pitches to run down the count, but after an eight-pitch at-bat, Hwang Jae-gyun grounded out to second base to advance to third. Kang Hyun-woo followed with a single to left and Rojas followed with an RBI single to center to score two more runs and give KT the win. Kang Hyun-woo was 2-for-5 with four RBIs, Rojas was 2-for-5 with one RBI and one walk, Oh Yoon-seok was 3-for-5, and Oh Jae-il was 2-for-5.

Hanwha didn’t go away easily, either. In the bottom of the 11th inning against KT’s Park Si-young, Ahn Chi-hong singled to right-center and Lee Won-seok followed with an RBI double to right-center, and pinch-hitter Choi In-ho followed with an RBI single to left-center to pull KT within one. Hanwha then used pinch-hitter Moon Hyun-bin, but Park Si-young got the final out himself with a straight hit to the pitcher.

The 1⅔ inning, two-strikeout, no-hit shutout was Park’s sixth win of the season (2-2). Park came on in the bottom of the 11th inning and gave up two runs but preserved the one-run lead to earn his first career save. Park suffered his third loss of the season after giving up two runs on four hits in ⅓ innings.

Both starting pitchers got off to quality starts, but left without a win. Hanwha Weiss, who was perfect until the top of the fourth inning, earned his second consecutive quality start with six innings of five hits (one home run), two walks, five strikeouts and three runs. He threw 97 pitches, topping out at 155 mph on TrackMan and averaging 151 mph, with a mix of fastballs (61), sweepers (23), curveballs (8) and changeups (5).

Returning to the mound on 11 days’ rest, KT starter Cuevas allowed three runs on seven hits, one walk and one hit batsman in six innings, striking out four and walking three. He threw 100 pitches, topping out at 150 mph and averaging 147 mph, with a mix of sliders (16), changeups (14), two-seamers (13) and splitters (one), centered around his cutter (28+).

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