“I wanted to keep giving him the ball in the no-hitter.”
The Busan Seungri snapped a three-game losing streak with the third team no-hitter in KBO history. Aaron Wilkerson established himself as the team’s ace after just three games.
The Lotte Giants rode Wilkerson’s seven-inning no-hitter and Yoon Dong-hee’s game-winning hit in the bottom of the eighth inning to a hard-fought 1-0 victory over the SSG Landers at Sajik Stadium in Busan on Saturday. It was a valuable victory that snapped a three-game losing streak.
Wilkerson earned his first win on July 26 against the Doosan Bears in his debut with five innings of two-run ball, and his first quality start (six or more innings and three or fewer earned runs) on August 1 against the NC Dinos.
The pitching was spectacular. The opponent was the SSG Landers, the defending champions and second-best team in the league this season. But Wilkerson used a fastball that topped out at 148 mph and a variety of pitches, including a cutter-slider-changeup-curve, to shake up the SSG hitters. He didn’t allow a single base runner until the bottom of the sixth inning. In the top of the seventh, they gave up a single to Choo Shin-soo, their first hitter, but got out of the inning without allowing a run.
Lotte gave up a walk to Shin-Soo Choo in the top of the ninth inning, but finished the game without a single hit and achieved a team (joint) no-hitter. This is the third time in KBO history that a team has accomplished this, joining the LG Twins in 2014 and SSG in 2022.
After the game, LOTTE manager Larry Sutton was pleased with Wilkerson’s performance, saying, “Wilkerson did a great job as a starter, going long innings when we needed him to.”
“He threw his fastball well to both sides of the plate, utilized a variety of pitches, and overwhelmed the batters with fewer pitches,” Sutton said. “As a manager, I wanted to keep the ball in his hand because he was coming off a personal no-hitter, but this was his second start of the week and he threw nearly 100 pitches in Korea, so I had to take the rest of the season into consideration,” he added.
“After that, Koo Seung-min and Kim Won-joong did a great job in the bullpen to close out the game. In terms of batting, I would like to praise Yoon Dong-hee, who came in as a pinch hitter and scored the winning run with a double. We will use today’s victory to prepare well for next week’s game.”
“I designed today’s game with the power analysis team before the start and talked a lot with Wilkerson. Even during the match, Coach Choi gave me a lot of coaching on ball placement. Wilkerson didn’t shake his head and threw the pitches he signed up for. Above all, I think the fact that my pitches were perfect in the course I asked for led to a good record,” he said.
Yoon Dong-hee, who hit the winning run, said, “I’ve been feeling a little off lately. Since I didn’t start today, I had a lot of time to think about what I had overlooked recently.” “My coach told me in advance that I could come in as a pinch hitter, so I tried to stay focused. I think the things I thought about before the game and trying to stay focused led to a good result.” 안전놀이터