Changwon, South Korea — In a pivotal wild card game of the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) postseason, the NC Dinos emerged victorious against the Doosan Bears with a 14-9 win on Thursday. The game was marked by standout performances from unexpected heroes, notably from No. 7 hitter Seo Ho-cheol.
According to Yonhap News Agency, Seo Ho-cheol played a crucial role with a grand slam and a total of six RBIs at Changwon NC Park. His grand slam, a part of a five-run fourth inning, set the record as the first in KBO wild card history. He also set a wild card game record with his six RBIs.
As the No. 4 seed, the Dinos only required a tie to advance to the next phase of the playoffs. The fifth-seeded Bears would have needed two consecutive wins to move ahead but fell short. No fifth seed has ever advanced past the wild card round in the KBO.
The next challenge for the Dinos will be the SSG Landers, the defending champions and the third-best regular season team. The best-of-five series is set to begin on Sunday at Incheon SSG Landers Field in Incheon.
The Bears gained early momentum, scoring in each of the first three innings. Despite taking a 3-0 lead following a solo home run by Jose Rojas, the Bears could not hold on. Bears starter Gwak Been initially appeared strong but faltered in the critical fourth inning.
Gwak issued two walks and a single to load the bases, setting the stage for Seo Ho-cheol's game-changing grand slam. Kim Hyung-jun followed with another homer, marking the first back-to-back home runs in KBO wild card history.
Despite tying the game in the fifth inning, the Bears lost their grip when a defensive error by second baseman Kang allowed the Dinos to reclaim their lead. The Bears deployed seven relievers after pulling Gwak but yielded nine runs on eight hits and four walks, unable to counter the Dinos' offense.