The Hanwha Eagles snapped a five-game losing streak in front of their home fans on Saturday night, with top prospect Moon Dong-joo’s hard-hitting fastball leading the way.
Hanwha defeated the Doosan Bears 6-1 in the 14th game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at the Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon, South Korea. They avenged a 4-11 loss the day before and snapped a long losing streak.
안전놀이터 Hanwha’s starting line-up was Jung Eun-won (2B), Kim In-hwan (1B), Noh Si-hwan (3B), Chae Eun-sung (designated hitter), Kim Tae-yeon (R), Williams (L), Lee Jin-young (CF), Choi Jae-hoon (catcher), and Lee Do-yoon (shortstop). Moon Dong-ju took the mound with the task of stopping the losing streak.
Doosan countered with a batting order of Jeong Soo-bin (centre fielder), Kim Jae-ho (shortstop), Rojas (right fielder), Yang Seok-hwan (first baseman), Kim Jae-hwan (left fielder), Heo Kyung-min (designated hitter), Park Jun-young (third baseman), Park Yoo-yeon (catcher) and Ahn Jae-seok (second baseman). Homegrown ace Kwak-Bin Kwak was on the mound looking for his first double-digit win season.
Hanwha jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first inning, as Jung Eun-won led off with a walk before Noh Si-hwan blasted a two-run homer to give the team a 2-0 lead one inning later.
The game then became a pitcher’s duel. The game flowed quickly as the league’s leading Young Gun fireballers showed off their form side by side.
Moon Dong-joo got off to a good start, striking out Doosan batters in the first, second, and third innings. In the top of the third, he struck out Park Jun-young, Park Yoo-yeon, and Ahn Jae-seok for a K-K-K inning.
In the top of the fourth inning, he gave up a single to Jung Soo-bin, the leadoff hitter, but continued to pitch unwaveringly. He was at his best in the fifth inning, holding the Doosan batsmen scoreless on two hits.
Kwak-Bin also settled down in the second inning. After getting out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning, he struck out the next three Hanwha batters – Kim In-hwan, Noh Si-hwan, and Chae Eun-sung – to end Moon Dong-joo’s strikeout streak.
Kwak Bin also showed off his crisis management skills. With runners on first and second in the bottom of the fourth inning, he got Choi Jae-hoon to ground into a shortstop-second baseman-first baseman double play to end the inning. Two batters later in the fifth, he gave up a double to Kim In-hwan, but got Noh Si-hwan to fly out to right field to end the inning.
Doosan fought back in the top of the sixth inning. Ahn Jae-seok led off with a single up the middle and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Moon Dong-joo when Park Kye-beom came to the plate one out later. Park grounded into an infield single, but Rojas followed with a clean triple to right-centre field to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Hanwha responded with a strong offence. In the bottom of the seventh, leadoff hitter Lee Jin-young drew a walk and Choi Jae-hoon’s sacrifice bunt put runners in scoring position before Lee Do-yoon’s RBI double made it 3-1.
Hanwha was not satisfied with one run. After Kim In-hwan drew a walk to load the bases, Noh Si-hwan, the hero of the first inning, hit a two-run double over the centre-field fence to make the score 5-1.
Hanwha added one more run in the bottom of the eighth when Lee Do-yoon singled with runners on second and third. It made it 6-1 and ended Doosan’s chances of a comeback. In the top of the ninth, reliever Park Sang-won secured the win with a comfortable lead.
Hanwha’s Moon Dong-ju pitched six innings of one-run ball to pick up his seventh win of the season. It’s enough to give him a shot at 10 wins before he is called up to the Hangzhou Asian Games baseball team in the middle of next month.
Home run leader Roh Si-hwan continued his recent good hitting form with a 2-for-4 performance, including his 27th home run of the season. Lee Do-yoon also chipped in with two hits and an RBI.
Doosan got a quality start from Kwak Bin with six and a third innings of three-run ball, but the offence couldn’t carry over the momentum from the previous day’s win as the bats struggled to attack the Hanwha mound.