Korea shuts out Australia

Korea shuts out Australia
The pitching of the defending champions was out of reach for Australia's line-up. Brilliant defensive plays prevented more runs.

Star lefthander Yang Hyeonjong allowed only an infield hit over six innings of work as no. 3 ranked Korea shut-out no 7. ranked Australia, 5-0, to end day one in Group C of the WBSC Premier12 2019.  Yang's fastball reached 148kph/92mph and the KIA Tigers starter showed masterful command of his secondary pitches.

"We had prepared well for the game," commented Australia's manager David Nilsson.

"Korea's starter was simply too good. His control was a plus. Once they scored two runs, I knew we were done."

Korea's manager Kim Kyungmoon added: "The first game of a tournament makes me always worry, but our starter made it look easy.

"He could have pitched one more inning, but we thought we had a good enough lead after six."

"I feel I am in a very good physical condition," said Yan Hyeonjong. "I felt pressure, but I also had a lot of confidence."

Korea's bullpen was just as good. Lee Youngha, Lee Yongchan, Won Jonghyan threw three perfect innings to end the game.

Korea scored the go-ahead runs in the bottom of the second against Australia’s starter Tim Atherton. Rightfielder Min Byunghun singled and third baseman Hur Kyoungmin doubled to make it 2-0. Hur drove in Korea’s fourth run. Centre fielder Lee Junghoo doubled off reliever Steven Kent in the bottom of the third to add another run. Korea scored the fifth on a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the eighth.

Lee was caught off second base in the third and the out proved to be a rally-stopper. Australia’s defense prevented additional runs with various outstanding plays. Australia’s third baseman Darryl George denied catcher Yang Euij a safe hit with an incredible defensive effort Yang was robbed again when Aaron Whitefield claimed a strong catch in centre-field.

Australia's tournament is on the line tomorrow when they face no. 5 ranked Cuba, while defending Premier12 champion Korea can secure Super Round qualification with a win over no. 10 ranked Canada.