The NC Dinos of the Korean baseball league have emerged as the new nemesis of this season’s top team, the LG Twins.
NC sank LG closer Go Woo-seok in the top of the ninth inning with the score tied 4-4 to win 5-4 in their 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League game at Jamsil Stadium on April 22.
With the win, third-place NC moved to within one game of second-place KT Wiz.
Notably, NC has taken a 9-6 lead in the head-to-head series against first-place LG, including a recent four-game winning streak.
The only teams LG has lost to this season are NC and the KIA Tigers (7-8).
NC opened the scoring in the top of the first inning when Son Ah-seop singled up the middle and Park Gun-woo followed with a single to center.
After a pitching change, Hong Chang-ki led off with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ak Song-gu and Kim Hyun-soo to make it 2-1.
NC regained the lead in the top of the second when Seo Ho-cheol hit an RBI double with the bases loaded to make it 3-2, but LG responded with an RBI double by Kim Min-sung in the bottom of the inning to make it 4-3.
However, NC tied the game at 4-4 in the top of the fifth with a two-run double by Park Gun-woo.
In the top of the ninth, with two outs, Seo Ho-cheol singled to right against LG closer Ko Woo-seok.
LG first baseman Austin Dean had a chance to throw out the runner at home on the replay, but a bad throw ended the game.
NC ace Koo Chang-mo, who was left off the Hangzhou Asian Games squad, took the mound for the first time in 112 days and pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings to check his form.
In Gwangju, the KIA Tigers rode a strong outing from Thomas Pannoni to a 2-1 victory over the KT Wiz.
The victory snapped a seven-game losing streak for KIA (61 W, 59 L, 2 T, 0.5083 winning percentage), which moved up one spot to fifth place, 0.0002 ahead of SSG Landers (63 W, 61 L, 2 T, 0.5081 winning percentage), who lost on the day.
KIA took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning when Lee Woo-sung singled, moved to third on a subsequent grounder and wild pitch, and came home on Byun Woo-hyuk’s single up the middle.
In the third, following a double steal with runners on first and second, Choi Hyung-woo hit a sacrifice fly to center field to make it 2-0.
Trailing, KT scored a run in the top of the sixth inning on an RBI single by Kim Sang-soo, but could not get any closer.
KIA starter Panoni earned the win, allowing one run on four hits while striking out six in 5⅔ innings.
KT ace Wes Benjamin took the loss after giving up two runs on six hits through five innings.
In Incheon, the Lotte Giants, led by Yoon Dong-hee, defeated the SSG Landers 5-2.
Lotte took the lead in the first inning when Yoon doubled and scored on a subsequent grounder, but SSG responded with a leadoff home run by Choo Shin-soo after a pitching change to make it 1-1.
Lotte took the lead in the top of the fourth with a solo home run by Yoo Kang-nam, but SSG answered with a solo shot to left field in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game at 2-2.
However, Lotte took the lead again in the bottom of the seventh inning on an infield single by Yoon Dong-hee to make it 3-2, and then scored two runs in the eighth inning to tie the game.
Yoon, who was a last-minute addition to the Asian Games squad, went 3-for-5 with two doubles.
In Daegu, the Doosan Bears defeated the Samsung Lions 3-1.
Doosan took the lead in the top of the second inning on a sacrifice fly by Kang Seung-ho with runners on first and third.
In the third inning, with runners on second and third, Yang hit a two-run double to right-center field to make it 3-0.
Samsung got one run back in the bottom of the seventh on Kim Ji-chan’s double and Ryu Ji-hyuk’s infield single.
With their second straight win, Doosan maintained their fourth place and took a step closer to the fall baseball season.
In Daejeon, the last-place Kiwoom Heroes extended their winning streak to three games with an 11-6 victory over the Hanwha Eagles.
Hanwha’s home run leader, Noh Si-hwan, hit his 31st home run of the season with a two-run shot in the bottom of the seventh inning despite his team’s loss.
He remained five away from second-place Choi, who hit his 26th on the day.
However, it is unclear if Noh will be able to maintain his home run lead as he will be joining the Asian Games squad from the 23rd. 스포츠토토