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Lotte, led by starter Woo Kang-hoon, loses hard-fought battle to KIA

The Lotte Giants of baseball made a “surprise” start with hard-hitting sidearm pitcher Woo Kang-hoon, but couldn’t prevent a loss.

Lotte lost 5-6 to KIA at Kia Champions Field in Gwangju on Wednesday.

Lotte started sidearm pitcher Woo Kang-hoon, who impressed with his hard-hitting fastball in his first-team debut. In his first career first-team start, Woo allowed five runs (four earned) on five hits and four walks with two strikeouts in three innings.

Woo got off to a solid start in the first inning. After striking out the leadoff batter, Kim Do-young, he gave up a single to Ko Jong-wook, but retired the next two batters to keep the game scoreless.

Woo struggled with his pitches in the second inning. After giving up his first hit of the day to Han Jun-soo, he promptly walked Byun Woo-hyuk to put runners on first and second. Woo looked to settle down by striking out the next batter, Kim Ho-ryung, but gave up another walk to Kim Kyu-sung to put runners on the corners. Fortunately, he struck out Kim Do-young on one pitch to keep the game scoreless.

Woo faced his biggest challenge in the third inning. With the bases loaded and three runs on the board, Woo faced two consecutive singles to put runners on first and third, and eventually gave up a two-run double to Lee Woo-sung.

After giving up a hit, a walk, and an error in the fourth inning to give KIA the bases loaded, Woo Kang-hoon was eventually replaced by Lee Tae-yeon without retiring a batter, but he showed promise with his crisis management skills.

Lotte scored the first run of the day. With the score tied at 0-0 in the top of the first, Yoon Dong-hee led off with a double to right-center and came home when Noh Jin-hyuk doubled to left. Son Sung-bin followed with a single to left and Park Seung-wook walked to load the bases for Lotte, and Ahn Kwon-soo followed with a two-RBI single to right to give the Lions a three-run lead in the second inning.

LOTTE cut into the deficit in the third inning. Kia’s leadoff hitters Ko Jong-wook and Kim Sun-bin hit back-to-back singles to right, and a batter later, Lee Woo-sung hit a double to right-center to bring home both runners in scoring position.

Lotte came back in the fourth inning. Leading 4-2, Woo Kang-woon drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the fourth inning, but LOTTE’s second pitcher, Lee Tae-yeon, was promptly pulled after giving up a wild pitch. LOTTE’s third 토토 pitcher, Shin Jeong-rak, then struck out Kim Sun-bin to get out of the jam, but the fourth batter, Socrates, gave up a two-run single to cut the deficit to 4-5.

LOTTE scored a run in the sixth to tie the game, but fell behind again in the seventh when reliever Choi Jun-yong gave up an RBI single to left field to Lee Woo-sung.

Lotte had the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, but Park Seung-wook struck out to end the inning, leaving the score at 5-6.

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