SSG Landers veteran underhand Jong-hoon Park collapsed in his first first-team start in two weeks. His self-destructive pitching in the late innings led to a loss.

Park gave up three runs on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 2⅔ innings of work in Game 11 of the 2024 Shinhan SOL Bank KBO League against the Hanwha Eagles at Hanwha Life Eagles Park in Daejeon on Saturday.

It wasn’t a bad start. In the top of the first, he got leadoff hitter Lee Won-seok to ground out to third base to end the inning. A batter later, Jang Jin-hyuk singled up the middle, but when Hwang Young-mook came up to bat, SSG catcher Kim Min-sik made a perfect throw to cut down Jang’s attempted steal of second base, eliminating the runner and extending the out count. Hwang Young-mook was thrown out at second base to end the inning with no runs scored.

Park Jong-hoon struggled in the bottom of the second inning. After giving up a leadoff single to Noh Si-hwan, he walked Ahn Chi-hong to load the bases with nobody out. He bounced back by getting Choi In-ho to hit an infield fly to third and Moon Hyun-bin to ground out to third, then struck out Choi Jae-hoon with runners on second and third to end the inning.

However, Park Jong-hoon got himself in trouble in the bottom of the third. After giving up back-to-back singles to Lee Do-yoon and Lee Won-seok, he walked Jang Jin-hyeok to load the bases with no outs.

Park Jong-hoon couldn’t get over the hump. Hwang Young-mook was hit by a pitch, allowing the runner at third to score. On the next two outs, another wild pitch allowed the runner from third to cross home plate, giving Hanwha a two-run lead.

Park Jong-hoon couldn’t settle down as he walked Hwang Young-mook with the bases loaded. After striking out Noh Si-hwan for the first out of the inning, he gave up an RBI sacrifice fly to Ahn Chi-hong to extend the lead to 3-0.

The SSG bench decided that the flow of the game was too much for Park Jong-hoon to continue on the mound. To prevent any further runs, they made the decision to replace him with Choi Min-joon.

Park Jong-hoon ended his outing in the bottom of the third inning with runners on second and third. Choi walked In-ho Choi to load the bases, but he struck out Moon Hyun-bin to end the inning.

Prior to the game against Hanwha, Park had struggled in the 2024 토토 season, going 1-3 with a 7.48 ERA in eight games and 27⅔ innings pitched. After allowing two runs on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings against the Kiwoom Heroes on April 2, he was removed from the first team roster and given time to readjust in the second team.

Park Jong-hoon seemed to have regained his pace in the Futures League against the Sangmu on April 9, pitching six innings of five-hit ball with two walks and five strikeouts. SSG head coach Lee Sung-yong believed in his recovery and gave him a chance to start that day. However, Jong-hoon did not meet the coaching staff’s expectations. Out of 64 pitches, he threw only 36 strikes. His strike rate was only 56.25 percent, and he even committed back-to-back wild pitches in the game.

Before the game, Lee said, “Park Jong-hoon was very good in his second start (June 9 against Sangmu). I’m expecting a similar picture today. I hope he will show the best performance he has.” However, Park Jong-hoon was unable to respond and his next start was not guaranteed.

SSG also fell to Hanwha 1-4 with a silent batting lineup. The team ended their three-game winning streak with a three-game weekend series sweep.

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