The power of “dad” saved baseball’s KT from the brink.
KT won the third game of the playoffs (PO) against NC 3-0 at Changwon NC Park on April 2. KT, which was in danger of being eliminated from the playoffs after dropping Games 1 and 2 to NC at home in Suwon, traveled to Changwon to get its first win and extend the series to Game 4.
It’s no exaggeration to say that starting pitcher Ko Young-pyo led the way. He went six innings, allowing just three hits and two walks while striking out five and shutting down the NC offense.
It was a game where the trusted starters finally saw the light of day. KT led the league in regular season starts with 57. Their starting pitching accounted for most of the team’s 79 wins.
However, once the playoffs began, the starters struggled. In Game 1 on March 30, William Cuevas took the loss after giving up seven runs in three innings. In Game 2, Wes Benjamin gave up three runs in five innings, but was outdueled by NC’s Shin Min-hyuk, who threw 6.1 scoreless innings. In both games, the team fell behind early and lost the first two runs.
However, this day was completely different. KT’s baseball was on point. The starters were solid on the mound, and the bats responded, taking an early lead. Ko Young-pyo threw 105 pitches and stayed on the mound until the sixth inning. With 21 regular-season quality starts (QS – 6+ innings, 3 earned runs or less), second only to Doosan’s Raul Alcantara (22), Ko was able to keep the ball in play in the clutch.
It was also the first birthday of his son. He took the mound for his team and made his dad proud with a stellar performance.
KT struck first. With one out in the top of the second inning and the score 0-0, No. 8 Bae Jeong-dae took a 122-kilometer-per-hour slider from NC starter Tanner Tully for a two-run arch over the left field wall. After hitting a game-tying grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 1 of the playoffs, Choi showed off his long ball power in Game 3 with his second home run of the playoffs.
In the seventh inning, Moon Sang-chul hit a solo home run. Moon had hit a solo home run off NC ace Eric Peddy in Game 1, driving in the only run of the game. This time, as soon as the NC pitcher switched to Kim Young-gyu, Moon launched a six-pitch 130-kilometer slider over the left field fence.
With the lead in hand, KT secured the win with three scoreless innings from Son Dong-hyun (1 inning), Park Young-hyun (1 inning), and Kim Jae-yoon (1 inning).
NC, on the other hand, suffered its first loss at home in front of a sellout crowd of 17,400, ending a postseason-record nine-game winning streak 먹튀검증 dating back to Game 4 of the 2020 Korean Series. Tanner pitched six innings of two-run ball to earn the QS, but the offense couldn’t close out the series. The team had five hits, two fewer than KT (seven), but it wasn’t enough.
In Game 4 of the playoffs, which will be held at the same venue on March 3, NC will start Song Myung-ki and KT will start Cuevas.