‘Overwhelming’ Five straight saves, one walk…22-year-old closer is comfortable with a one-run deficit after surviving trials

KIA Tigers closer Jung Hae-young (22) shows off his dominant stuff.

Jung Hae-young pitched a perfect first inning to preserve the Tigers’ 8-7 victory over the top-ranked LG Twins on Tuesday at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field. The team dropped the first game of a four-game weekend series that included a doubleheader, but rebounded with three straight wins to get back into winning mode.

In the process, Jung’s strong relief performance played a role. On this day, Jung faced the LG cleanup trio in a tense one-run situation. After a full-count battle with the tricky Kim Hyun-soo, she induced a grounder to first base on eight pitches to get over the hump. Austin followed with a strong fastball and induced a grounder in front of the shortstop.

The final batter, Boon Bo-kyung, threw a fastball that was caught on the ground in center field to end the game. It was an impressive 11-ball performance with three outs. His fastball touched 146 mph, with a 139 mph slider and a 136 mph fork. All of his fastballs touched 145 mph or higher. His pitches were all over 145 mph, with his signature spin on them.

Jung also earned a valuable one-run save in the first game of the doubleheader the previous day. After Ko Jong-wook tied the game in the bottom of the eighth and Park Chan-ho made it 7-6, Jung came on in the top of the ninth and walked Hong Chang-ki, but following a sacrifice bunt by Shin Min-jae, he got Kim Hyun-soo to ground out to first base and Seo Gun-chang to ground out to third to preserve the win.

In the second half of the year, Jung earned his third consecutive save by pitching all three games against Lotte in the final week of July. However, in August, she gave up one run in the first inning against Samsung and a three-run blown save against Samsung on the second day after failing to protect a 6-4 lead. He then added saves on August 25 and 27 against the Gwangju Hanwha in Gwangju.

Both were three-run games, so they were easy saves. He told himself, “I have to protect the 1-2 point difference.” Finally, on September 3, with SSG and Incheon leading by two runs, he appeared in the ninth inning and got three clean outs with one strikeout. Then, against a tricky LG batting lineup, he held them to one run in both games.스포츠토토

This is certainly not the same Mohd who struggled in the middle of the season. He found his groove and his confidence, recording 15 saves. We can expect him to be a solid backstop for the rest of the race. The ninth inning is no longer a nerve-wracking one, but a comforting one. Five consecutive saves proved it.

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