A hit when he needed it. Hanwha Eagles veteran infielder Oh Sun-jin (34) hit a game-winning home run in his return from injury.
Hanwha won the ninth game of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League against SSG Landers 4-3 at SSG Landers Field in Incheon on Monday.
Hanwha scored two runs in the third and one in the fourth inning and took a 3-0 lead into the fifth inning thanks to a strong performance from foreign starter Felix Peña. In the bottom of the sixth, an unfortunate defensive error by center fielder Moon Hyun-bin cut the lead to 3-2, but Hanwha maintained the lead until the seventh inning.
However, in the bottom of the eighth inning, the third pitcher, Joo Hyun-sang, gave up the tying solo home run to Choi Joo-hwan. The tension returned. Peña, who pitched six innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits and seven walks with four strikeouts, was in trouble.
Hanwha’s offense in the top of the ninth. Oh Sun-jin led off with a single to right field against SSG closer Seo Jin-yong. After pinch-hitting in the sixth inning, he hit an infield single to center field.
Hanwha had a golden opportunity. Lee Jin-young sent Oh Sun-jin to second base with a sacrifice bunt. Jung Eun-won then drew a walk, and with runners on first and second, Noh Si-hwan singled to left field. With two outs, Oh stole third and sprinted home.
Oh, who had been sidelined with a right hamstring injury, gritted his teeth in his return from injury. Hanwha was able to hold on to the one run they earned and take the lead on the first day of their trip to Incheon.
“We were able to score right away in a situation that could have gone our way,” said Choi Won-ho after the game. Oh Sun-jin showed that he deserved to be on the first team with his one untouched shot.
Before the game, Choi sent third-year outfielder Jang Ji-seung to the second team and called up Oh Sun-jin, saying, “He continued to play the 25th, 26th, and 27th (Futures League) games. He said there was no problem with his batting and defense. He has the ability to see the ball and make contact.” 스포츠토토
In calling up Oh, Choi was concerned about the health of Noh Si-hwan (third base) as the weather heated up, but he hoped that Oh could be an alternative when the team needed another breakthrough to score runs. Oh lived up to that expectation.
“I’m glad that I was able to contribute to the team’s victory on the day I came back from injury,” Oh said. “I had been preparing for the game, thinking that I could play defense or pinch-hit because the team was winning, and I feel good that I was able to produce a good result.”
“I always come to the field with the mindset of doing what I can wherever the team needs me,” he said. “My injury lasted longer than I thought, so I’m coming back late, and I’m determined to make sure I can contribute more to the team.”