‘Kang Hyun-woo hits 4 RBIs’ KT wins 4th straight over Hanwha, leaps to 8th place

The KT Wiz have set the stage for a fifth consecutive winning series, as the team escaped from ninth place in 26 days with a dazzling performance from ‘backup catcher’ Kang Hyun-woo.

KT won the first game of a three-game series against the nemesis Hanwha Eagles, 6-5, at Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon on Sunday, thanks to Kang’s 2-for-5 performance with a three-run home run and four RBIs in the final game of the first half of the 2024 Shinhan Bank SOL Bank KBO League.

KT, which has won four straight games to improve to 37-2-44, moved up one spot to eighth place after dropping Hanwha (35-2-43). It was their first eighth-place leap in 26 days since June 6.

On the day, KT was held in check by Hanwha’s substitute foreign player, starting pitcher Ryan Weiss, who managed only one hit, a single by Kang Baek-ho, until the fourth inning.

Hanwha, on the other hand, opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning against Cuevas, who had never beaten KT before, with back-to-back singles to left by Noh Si-hwan and Ahn Chi-hong, followed by a wild pitch to Chae Eun-sung to load the bases before Kim Tae-yeon’s grounder to shortstop brought home Noh.

Hanwha made it 2-0 when Lee Do-yoon hit a single to the right side of the infield, scoring Ahn Chi-hong.

Chained to the wicket, KT broke through in the top of the fifth inning. After leadoff hitter Oh Jae-il singled to right, Hwang Jae-gyun flied out to center field, but Kim Sang-soo drew a walk to put runners on first and second.

Kang Hyun-woo then took a 1-2 pitch, a 136-kilometer-per-hour slider from Weiss, over the right-field wall for a three-run homer. KT had back-to-back singles by Oh Yoon-seok and Jeong Jun-young to put runners on first and third, but Kang Baek-ho and Choi Bae-dae struck out to end the threat.

Hanwha answered right back in the bottom of the fifth. After a single to left by Hwang Young-mook and a walk to Jang Jin-hyuk, Peraza lined a single up the middle to tie the game at 3-3. Cuevas then struck out Noh Si-hwan and Ahn Chi-hong and got a fly ball to right field to end the inning without further damage.

The two teams battled back and forth until KT had a chance to score in the top of the eighth inning when leadoff hitter Jeong Jae-dae hit a double down the right field line off Hanwha’s third pitcher Lee Min-woo, but Oh Jae-il fouled out to the catcher, Hwang Jae-gyun 토토 먹튀검증 struck out, and Kim Sang-soo grounded out to second base.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, KT got Choi Jae-hoon to ground out to second base to send the game to extra innings, and in the top of the 11th inning against Hanwha’s fifth pitcher, Park Sang-won, leadoff hitter Oh Jae-il singled to right, followed by Hwang Jae-gyun’s double down the left field line to bring home pinch-hitter Park Min-seok.

With runners on first and third after a grounder to second by Kim Sang-soo, Kang Hyun-woo singled to left to plate Hwang Jae-gyun, and Oh Yoon-seok followed with a single to left to put runners on first and second. Pinch-hitter Jang Jang-woo flied out to left field, but Rojas hit an RBI single to center field to extend the lead to 6-3.

With the game on the line, KT sent Park Si-young to the mound in the bottom of the 11th, and after getting leadoff hitter Noh Si-hwan to fly out to right field, Ahn Chi-hong singled to right-center, but Chae Eun-seong struck out swinging to put out the fire.

However, after giving up a double to Lee Won-seok and a single to Choi In-ho to cut the deficit to one run, Park Si-young got pinch-hitter Moon Hyun-bin to fly out to center field to preserve the win.

KT starter Cuevas pitched a quality start, giving up three runs on seven hits over six innings in his first start in 12 days, before Kim Min-soo (1 inning), Kim Min-soo (1⅓ innings), Park Young-hyun (1⅔ innings), and Park Si-young (1 inning) followed to preserve the one-run victory. Park earned her sixth win of the season.

“I’ve always tried to center myself, but I’ve never hit a home run to right field before, so I was a little nervous about it, but it felt great to get it over the fence,” said Kang Hyun-woo, who had a four-hit performance in his debut. I think the 11th inning RBI was a good hit because Coach Han Yu-joon advised me to aim for a forked ball,” he said. “I’m grateful to the manager for giving me the opportunity to start and to the coaching staff and seniors who always give me advice.”

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