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S. Korea shuts out Japan to inch closer to baseball final berth

Oct. 5, 2023 - 15:57 By Yonhap
Roh Si-hwan of South Korea celebrates his RBI single against Japan during the teams' Super Round game in the Asian Games baseball tournament at Shaoxing Baseball and Softball Sports Centre in Shaoxing, China, on Thursday. (Yonhap)

South Korea defeated Japan 2-0 on Thursday to move a step closer to a berth in the Asian Games baseball gold medal game.

Starter Park Se-woong tossed six shutout innings and cleanup Roh Si-hwan drove in both runs for South Korea's first win in the Super Round at Shaoxing Baseball and Softball Sports Centre in Shaoxing, southeast of the main host city, Hangzhou.

South Korea, three-time defending champion, reached the Super Round after finishing in second place in Group B, behind Chinese Taipei, in the preliminary round. Japan and China advanced out of Group A.

Teams will play opponents from the other group, with South Korea scheduled to play China on Friday.

After the Super Round, the top two teams will clash in the gold medal game Saturday.

The preliminary record between qualified teams carried over into the Super Round, meaning South Korea came in with a loss and Chinese Taipei entered with a win. South Korea must now defeat China to have a shot at reaching Saturday's gold medal game.

The teams traded zeroes for the first 5 1/2 innings. South Korea was held hitless for four innings by Japanese starter Shuichiro Kayo, before Kang Baek-ho led off the bottom of the fifth with a single. South Korea couldn't cash him in, though, and it wasn't until Roh Si-hwan's sacrifice fly in the sixth that South Korea got on the board.

South Korea got an insurance run in the eighth, when Roh singled home Kim Hye-seong, who'd drawn a leadoff walk.

South Korean starter Park Se-woong matched Kayo pitch for pitch, tossing six shutout innings of two-hit ball and striking out nine.

After Park, relievers Choi Ji-min and Park Yeong-hyun slammed the door shut on Japan for the final three innings.

Japan had men at the corners with one out in the top of the ninth before Park induced a game-ending double play ball off the bat of Kohei Sasagawa. (Yonhap)