The Doosan Bears were the first to be eliminated in the fierce battle for third place in the Korean Baseball Organization, and the winner will be decided on Sunday, the final day of the regular season.
Doosan lost its 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League home game against SSG Landers 2-3 at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Saturday despite a late rally.
With the loss, Doosan clinched fifth place with 74 points, two draws and 67 losses ahead of the final match against SSG in Incheon on Sunday.
Even if Doosan manages to tie NC Dinos, it cannot overtake NC as it trails 64-66, two points, in the next most important category after the head-to-head record between the two teams (8 wins, 8 losses).
According to the KBO’s competition outline, if two or more teams are tied for first and fifth place in the regular season, they will play a single-elimination game, but the second through fourth places will be ranked in order of head-to-head record, most runs scored and previous year’s performance.
The best pitchers both teams could muster went to the mound, and for once, SSG left-hander Roenis Elias was better than Doosan right-hander Raul Alcantara.
Elias held the Doosan bats to four hits and one run over seven innings with his offspeed pitches that dug into the body and reached speeds of up to 150 kilometers per hour.
SSG opened the scoring in the first inning with a leadoff double by Choo Shin-soo, followed by a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly by Han Yoo-seom.
In the third inning, Kim Min-sik drew a leadoff walk and scored on Han Yoo-seom’s RBI single to right field to make it 2-0.
After Doosan pulled within one in the bottom of the fifth when Heo Kyung-min hit a two-run double off the top of the left field fence, SSG answered with a run in the top of the seventh when Guillermo Heredia singled to center field after a walk and a hit batter.
Heredia’s shot bounced erratically and Doosan’s Heo Kyung-min was hit directly in the face by a hard hit ball and left the game.
Doosan made one last push in the bottom of the ninth inning when pinch-hitter Kim In-tae beat SSG closer Seo Jin-yong with a solo home run to right field, but they were unable to capitalize on a last chance with runners on first and second.
SSG moved up to third place, overtaking NC, who lost on the day.
NC suffered a heartbreaking 2-4 loss in Gwangju.
NC, who dropped to fourth place, 0.5 games behind SSG, will try to reverse the trend in the season finale against KIA on Sunday.
If SSG defeats Dusan on Sunday, they will finish third and go directly to the semi-finals. If SSG loses and NC wins, NC will take third place.
NC scored the first two runs of the game in the top of the first inning on an infield single by Son Asub and a walk by Jason Martin to put runners on first and second with Kwon Hee-dong blasting a two-run double to the left-center field wall.
Pedi, who had virtually clinched the trifecta of wins, ERA and strikeouts, pitched 5⅔ scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and striking out five, until he was hit in the right arm by a hard-hit ball from Ko Jong-wook with two outs in the sixth.
Pedi finished the regular season with a 20-6 record, a 2.00 ERA (40 earned runs in 180⅓ innings), and 209 strikeouts.
He would have lowered his ERA to 1.99 if he had left the mound with just one more batter faced, so the hard hit by Jong-Wook Koh was a fitting tribute.
Luckily, Pedi was diagnosed with a bruise at the hospital.
After pushing Peddie off the mound, Go Jong-wook came through for NC in the bottom of the eighth inning with runners on first and third, hitting a game-tying double off the right-center field fence.
Kia responded with a Kim Sun-bin single to right-center and a Lee Woo-sung double to right-center to make it 4-2 and brought in closer Jung Hae-young to close out the game in the top of the ninth. 토토사이트