Director Choi Won-ho smiles as ‘Prince of Daejeon’ revives with a 158km bang

He didn’t get the win, but it was an impressive performance.

The Hanwha Eagles won the first game of a three-game midweek series against the NC Dinos of the 2024 Shinhan SOL Bank KBO League 7-4 on Saturday at NC Park in Changwon. The victory snapped a three-game losing streak and improved their record to 10-10 on the season with a 5.5 percent winning percentage.

Moon Dong-joo pitched well and dominated the NC bats, but gave up the first run in the first inning on a solo shot to Seo Ho-chul. He then gave up a run in the bottom of the third inning on a fielding error, and gave up an RBI double to Son Asub and an RBI single to Park Gun-woo. After escaping the early jam, Moon settled down and didn’t allow another run.

His four-seam fastball (55 pitches) topped out at 158 mph, and his curveball (26 pitches) and changeup (14 pitches) were also on full display, rebounding from his recent struggles in which he allowed four runs in two consecutive games.

Moon’s final line on the day was 5 1/3 innings, seven hits (one home run), six strikeouts, two walks, and three runs (one earned). Although he didn’t get the win, he paved the way for a 7-4 team victory.

Hanwha manager Choi Won-ho said after the game, “Even though Moon Dong-ju didn’t get the win, his pitching was as good as ever. He pitched a good game that we can look forward to next time,” he said, giving him a thumbs-up. “In the bullpen, Jang Si-hwan saved the day, and Joo Hyun-sang secured the win,” he added, thanking his pitching staff.

After Moon Dong-joo, Hanwha’s bullpen of Lee Min-woo (⅔ scoreless innings), Han Seung-hyuk (⅔ scoreless innings), Jang Si-hwan (1⅓ scoreless innings), and Joo Hyun-sang (1 scoreless inning) kept NC’s bats in check. While the pitching staff was solid, the bats also did their job and turned the game around in the middle and late innings. Ahn Chi-hong hit the game-winning hit in the top of the ninth inning, while Jonathan Peraza and Noh Si-hwan added RBI doubles to energize the offense.

“At the plate, our center fielders, including Peraza, Roh Si-hwan, and Ahn Chi-hong, did a great job at the plate when we needed them,” Choi said.

Hanwha, meanwhile, has announced Ryu Hyun-jin as its 먹튀검증 starting pitcher on Sunday. Ryu, who has 99 career wins, will become the 33rd pitcher in the KBO to reach 100 wins in his career if he gets the win in his next start. Since his debut in 2006, Ryu has played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays in the Major Leagues. It will be interesting to see if he can reach 100 wins in the KBO 19 years after his debut.

NC, on the other hand, will counter with Shin Min-hyuk. Shin has been pitching exceptionally well as the team’s No. 1 starter, going 2-1 with a 1.64 ERA in four games and 22 innings pitched. Can he snap the team’s two-game losing streak and prevent them from clinching the best-of-seven series?

The second game of the three-game midweek series will take place at 6:30 p.m. at NC Park in Changwon.

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