CHANGWON, South Korea - The NC Dinos emerged victorious against the SSG Landers in a 7-6 win, thereby completing a three-game sweep in their first-round series in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) postseason on Wednesday.
According to a news release by Yonhap News Agency, Jason Martin played a crucial role in the win with a go-ahead, three-run home run during a four-run second inning. Five Dinos relievers collectively held the Landers to just one run over the final seven innings of Game 3. The defeat marks the end of the Landers' title defense, as they failed to secure a win in this postseason.
The Dinos now prepare to face the No. 2 seed KT Wiz in a best-of-five second round series beginning Monday in Suwon. The Wiz are the 2021 Korean Series champions, following the Dinos' own championship win in 2020.
In the third consecutive game of drawing first blood in the series, the Dinos capitalized on a series of hits in the opening innings. Martin and Kwon Hui-dong led the early offensive charge, with Kwon bringing in two runs with a single to right field, followed by Seo Ho-cheol doubling to left-center.
Despite trailing 3-1 after the first inning, the Landers turned the tables in the second inning. Guillermo Heredia's bases-loaded walk and Choi Jeong's grand slam briefly gave the Landers a 5-3 lead. The grand slam was Choi's 13th career postseason home run, tying him for second place in KBO postseason history.
The Dinos quickly regained the lead the same inning, with Jason Martin's three-run home run playing a pivotal role. Park Kun-woo also contributed with an RBI single, making it a 7-5 game in favor of the Dinos.
Attempts from both teams to expand the score in subsequent innings were thwarted, with both bullpens showing resilience. The Landers managed to add a run in the top fourth, but the Dinos held their ground, maintaining a one-run lead throughout the remainder of the game.
The Dinos called upon their closer Lee Yong-chan in the ninth inning. Despite a lackluster performance in previous games, Lee was effective this time, retiring the side in order and securing the Dinos' narrow victory.
Left-handed reliever Kim Young-kyu was voted series MVP, securing 37 out of 78 votes cast by the media. Kim pitched 1 1/3 shutout innings in Wednesday's win, adding to his record of a win and two holds over the three-game series. Jason Martin, who garnered 18 votes, batted .333 and led the team with five RBIs over the three games.