CHANGWON, South Korea, - The NC Dinos clinched a three-game sweep against the SSG Landers with a 7-6 victory on Wednesday, advancing to the next round of the Korea Baseball Organization postseason.
According to a news release by Yonhap News Agency, the Dinos will now face the No. 2 seed KT Wiz in a best-of-five second round starting Monday. This follows the Landers' elimination from the postseason, as they were unable to secure a single win in defense of their Korean Series title.
The Dinos commenced the game with a four-run second inning at Changwon NC Park. Jason Martin's three-run home run was a critical factor, setting the stage for a bullpen showdown for the remaining seven innings of the game. The Dinos’ relievers managed to hold the Landers to just one run, securing the Game 3 victory.
Throughout the series, the Dinos' offensive strategy was straightforward yet effective. On Wednesday, the team capitalized on two-out hits to draw first blood for the third straight game in the series. Seo Ho-cheol and Kwon Hui-dong played pivotal roles, executing key plays that cashed in multiple runs.
Conversely, the Landers displayed brief moments of offense but failed to maintain the momentum. Choi Jeong's grand slam in the second inning temporarily gave the Landers a 5-3 lead, but it was short-lived. The Dinos retaliated within the same inning, regaining the lead with a three-run homer by Martin.
Despite the tension in the latter innings, the Dinos' bullpen maintained their composure. Even without their No. 1 starter, Erick Fedde, who is recovering from a right forearm injury, the team succeeded in keeping the Landers at bay. Dinos manager Kang In-kwon expressed confidence in Fedde's availability for the upcoming series against the KT Wiz.
The Dinos' victory was a collective effort. They outperformed the Landers with 12 hits to six and five of their players recorded two hits each. Despite issuing 11 walks compared to the Landers' eight, the Dinos' pitchers and hitters kept the game in their favor.
The MVP of the series was left-handed reliever Kim Young-kyu. He secured a win and two holds across all three games, including 1 1/3 shutout innings in Wednesday’s decisive match. Kim collected 37 out of 78 media votes, with Jason Martin finishing a distant second with 18 votes. Martin had a .333 batting average and led the team with five RBIs in the series.