‘There’s a long way to go, and the sun is setting…’ KIA-LOTTE Fall Baseball to fold as is?

LG wins 2 in a row over KT with ‘iron-wall defense’…direct path to KS ‘magic number 1’
KIA, Chuseok holiday SSG, 2-game sweep crucial to win
Lotte, 8th-ranked Samsung in doubleheader sweep…virtually unticketed

With the end in sight, the postseason spots for the 2023 KBO season are becoming increasingly clear.

The LG Twins reduced the magic number to “1” with a sweep of the second-place KT Wiz, finally putting them within striking distance of their first regular season title in 29 years.

KT, the NC Dinos, and the Doosan Bears, who are in a three-way tie for second place, have all surpassed the 70-win plateau and are guaranteed a spot in fall baseball.

In the battle for the last remaining ticket, the SSG Landers took the upper hand in the “fifth place war” with a pair of late-game victories over the KIA Tigers on September 30 and October 1.

With just 13 games left in the season, sixth-place KIA was 2.5 games behind fifth-place SSG, darkening the outlook for fall baseball.

The Lotte Giants, who had kept their hopes alive, dropped two of three doubleheaders against the Samsung Lions to fall five games behind the fifth-place SSG, effectively ending their postseason hopes.

LG won a 5-4 victory over visiting KT Wiz in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Katie Wiz Park in Suwon, South Korea, on Sunday behind an ironclad effort from its bullpen and the cohesiveness of its bats.

With the win over second-place KT, first-place LG finally reduced its “magic number” for the regular season title to one, as the third-place NC Dinos also lost on the same day.

With nine games remaining, LG needs just one more win to clinch the regular season title and advance directly to the Korean Series.

The last time LG finished atop the regular season standings was in 1994, when they won the Korean Series.

Looking for its first Korean Series appearance in 21 years since 2002 and its first combined title (regular season and Korean Series) in 29 years since 1994, LG started rookie Kang Hyo-jong, who was called up from the second team, and scored all of its runs in the second inning.

With runners on first and second in the top of the third inning, Park Hae-min singled to left and Kim Hyun-soo followed with a double to right to make it 3-0.

KT answered with a run in the fourth when Anthony Alford hit a two-run home run to left field to cut the deficit to 2-3.

However, LG scored a run in the top of the fifth off KT’s second pitcher, Ha Jun-ho, after three walks and two wild pitches to take a 4-2 lead.

In the seventh inning, with runners on first and second, Oh Ji-hwan doubled down the right field line to score a run and make the score 5-2.

In the bottom of the eighth, KT scored a run on Kim Sang-soo’s double with runners on first and second, and Hwang Jae-gyun drew a bases-loaded walk to cut the deficit to 4-5.

However, with the bases loaded, Alford struck out to end the threat.

LG’s starter Kang Hyo-jong went down after giving up two runs in 3⅔ innings, but Lee Woo-chan (⅓), Park Myung-geun (1), Choi Dong-hwan (1), Baek Seung-hyun (1), Kim Dae-hyun (0), and Kim Jin-sung (2) followed to keep KT at bay until the end.

■ Samsung takes doubleheader sweep of Lotte, fall baseball’s last hope, to move into 8th place

In Busan, where the doubleheader was held, the Samsung Lions defeated Lotte 9-8 in game one before taking game two 8-6.

With the two wins in one day, Samsung moved up one spot to eighth place, ahead of Hanwha.

Samsung took a 6-3 lead in the top of the fifth after Kang Min-ho hit a three-run homer to left field in a 3-3 game one tie.

In the sixth, Lee Jae-hyun doubled with two outs and Koo Ja-ook followed with a two-run homer to right to make it 9-3.

LOTTE scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh with five hits, including a two-run double by Jeon Jun-woo, and then Nico Goodrum hit an RBI single in the eighth to cut the deficit to 8-9, but could not overcome the deficit.

In the second game, Lotte scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning on a pair of errors to take a 5-2 lead.

However, Samsung capitalized on a LOTTE error in the top of the fifth, scoring four runs on three hits and two walks to take a 6-5 lead.

After the teams traded runs in the sixth, Samsung scored a run in the top of the eighth to take the lead for good.

Lotte committed 14 errors in the game.

■ Hanwha with 4 home runs, fireworks, and a long road to NC

In Daejeon, the Hanwha Eagles blasted four home runs in a 10-0 sweep of third-place NC.

Hanwha opened the scoring in the first inning on a Nick Williams double.

In the third inning, with runners on first and second, Moon Hyun-bin singled to right, and one inning later, Williams hit a three-run homer to right field to make it 5-0.

Chae Eun-sung hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning, followed by Lee Jin-young’s solo shot in the seventh, and then Chae Eun-sung hit back-to-back two-run blasts to make it a 10-0 game.

Hanwha starter Felix Peña earned his 11th win of the season, striking out nine and allowing three hits over six innings.

Hanwha veteran pitcher Jung Woo-ram became the first KBO player to reach the 1,000-game milestone when he struck out the side in the top of the seventh inning.

■ Waddell throws 6 scoreless innings…Doosan closes to within half a game of 3rd place NC

In Jamsil, the Doosan Bears defeated the Kiwoom Heroes 7-2.

Doosan took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Yang Seok-hwan hit a hard double off Jang Jae-young to center field.

After Jang was hit in the head by a pitch and replaced by Yoon Seok-won, Doosan scored two more runs on a sacrifice fly by Kim Jae-hwan and an RBI single by Kang Seung-ho to take a 4-0 lead.

After Park Jun-young hit a two-run double in the third, Doosan added a run in the sixth to take a commanding 7-0 lead.

Kiwoom got two runs back in the top of the ninth on an RBI single by Lim Ji-yeol.토토사이트

Doosan starter Brandon Waddell pitched six innings of three-hit ball to improve to 10-3.

Fourth-place Doosan, which has won eight straight against Kiwoom, moved to within half a game of third-place NC.

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