Man Rupo replaces Kang Baek-ho as ‘returning genius’…KT’s No. 2 shooter

‘Returned baseball genius’ Kang Baek-ho (24) hit his first grand slam of the season to shake off the jitters and give KT Wiz’s second best player a boost.

Kang Baek-ho, who was sent down to the second team twice this season for various reasons, hit a pinch-hit grand slam in the bottom of the fifth inning of a home game against SSG Landers at Katie Wiz Park in Suwon on Aug. 8, contributing to the team’s 16-7 victory. His first hit in only his fourth pinch-hitting appearance since returning to the first team was his second career grand slam.

With the victory, KT, which has won six straight games against SSG, maintained its second place with a 65-2-52 record, a 4-3 upset win over Lotte and a 1.5-game gap over NC, which has won four straight games.

The game, which featured Lee Jeong-seong (KT) and Moon Seung-won (SSG) in the starting lineup, was a fireworks display from the first inning. SSG opened the scoring in the top of the first inning with a single to right by Choi Ji-hoon, followed by a grounder to third by Choi Jeong to put runners on second and third.

Heredia then singled to left and Park Sung-ho singled to right to put runners on second and third, before Heredia scored on a wild pitch by Choi Jeong-seong to make it 2-0.

In the bottom of the first inning, however, the KT bats exploded for a big inning and quickly turned the tide. After Hwang Jae-gyun hit a lucky double that deflected off the pitcher’s glove to put runners on first and second with one out, KT answered with Park Byung-ho’s double to left-center and Alford’s RBI single to left-center following a walk.

KT didn’t stop there, as Oh Yoon-seok led off with a double to the top of the left-center field fence, followed by an RBI single from Kim Sang-soo to make it 6-2.

SSG got a run back in the top of the second when Choi Ji-hoon doubled up the middle and Choi Jeong hit a two-run double over the left field fence to cut the deficit to 5-6.

In the ensuing batting battle, KT scored a run in the third inning on an RBI double by Kang Hyun-woo and a run in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by Shin Bon-ki to make it 8-5, and the bats exploded once again in the fifth inning.

With two outs and a stolen base, Jang Jang-woo singled to right and Kim Sang-soo and Kim Min-hyuk followed with consecutive singles to load the bases. Then, Kang Baek-ho, who came to bat in place of Shin Bon-ki, pulled a fastball from SSG’s second pitcher Park Jong-hoon on a 2-2 count and blasted a 115-meter home run over the right field fence.

Failing to capitalize on another bases-loaded opportunity in the sixth inning, KT’s second pitcher Lee Sang-dong gave up back-to-back RBI singles to Defensor Eredia and Jeon Eui-san in the top of the seventh, but the team took advantage 바카라 of SSG’s third pitcher Seo Sang-joon’s struggles in the bottom of the seventh to score three runs on one hit, four walks, and one error to go up 16-7.

From the eighth inning on, KT’s third pitcher Kim Young-hyun took the mound and faced seven batters, giving up just one hit and no walks to close out the game. 

After the game, Kang Baek-ho, who played a key role in the victory, said, “I think it was a good result that my teammates created good opportunities for me before I entered the batting lineup, so I was able to hit comfortably,” and added, “I’m grateful to the team seniors and fans for their support and patience. I will continue to contribute to the team with professional mental management and better performances and repay the fans for their support.”

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