Strikeout → Strikeout → Strikeout → Decisive double… The $5 billion free agent shortstop wasn’t a spy
Lotte’s dramatic come-from-behind victory was also decisive by Noh Jin-hyuk’s (34) one-shot.
The first winner of the ‘Nakdong River Derby’ 안전놀이터 was Lotte. Lotte won 3-2 in the match against NC in the ‘2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League’ held at Changwon NC Park on the 21st. It was a match where we trailed 0-2 and won 3-2.
This game was also the first time Noh Jin-hyeok, who changed his uniform from NC to Lotte after last season, greeted NC fans for the first time after moving to FA. Noh Jin-hyeok bowed his head toward the NC crowd as he entered his first plate at the beginning of the second inning. Then NC fans also responded with applause.
The match didn’t go as planned. Noh Jin-hyuk struck out in the first at-bat in the top of the second inning, the second at-bat in the top of the 5th, and the third at-bat in the top of the 8th inning. It was difficult to deal with NC pitchers for the first time.
However, Noh Jin-hyeok had a chance to make his fourth at-bat in the top of the ninth inning. Coincidentally, Lotte is trailing 1-2. It was a time when a breakthrough was needed. The pitcher Noh Jin-hyeok faced was NC closer Lee Yong-chan. Noh Jin-hyeok, who played a full-count battle, hit a 148km fastball that came in on the 8th pitch, which led to a double that exited the right outfield.
Noh Jin-hyeok’s double played a big role in Lotte’s come-from-behind victory. Lotte was able to tie the game 2-2 as Han Dong-hee’s center fielder’s sacrifice fly led to Roh Jin-hyeok’s lead runner Lee Hak-joo stepping on the home plate.
It was a really desperate at-bat for Noh Jin-hyeok. Noh Jin-hyeok said, “I had already struck out three times, so I didn’t want to strike out again.” Regarding his struggles in the previous three at-bats, he said, “It was really difficult to deal with because I had never played against NC pitchers.”
On the one hand, it was nice to leave the world of competition and go out to my parents’ house. Noh Jin-hyeok greeted the NC players before the game and readily responded to NC fans’ requests for autographs. Noh Jin-hyeok said, “It was so nice to see my family after a long time, and I was really grateful and sorry for the fans who clapped a lot when greeting the fans.”