The Lotte Giants avoided a series sweep with a no-hitter from Aaron Wilkerson and a game-winning hit from pinch-hitter Dong-hui Yoon. It was the third team no-hitter in franchise history.
Lotte earned a hard-fought 1-0 victory over SSG Landers in the regular season finale of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Sajik Stadium in Busan on June 6. With the win, Lotte snapped a three-game losing streak and avoided a series sweep. They are now 43-49 on the season. SSG missed the chance to sweep the series. They remain at 53-38-1 on the season.
SSG and Lotte’s starting lineups
SSG’s starting lineup for the series sweep was Choo Shin-soo (designated hitter), Choi Ji-hoon (center fielder), Choi Joo-hwan (first baseman), Choi Jung (third baseman), Park Sung-hwan (shortstop), Ha Jae-hoon (left fielder), Han Yu-seom (right fielder), Kim Sung-hyun (second baseman), and Cho Hyung-woo (catcher). The starting pitcher is Kirk McCarty.
Lotte, looking to avoid a sweep, has Kim Min-seok (center field), Gudrum (third base), Jeong Hoon (first base), Ahn Chi-hong (second base), Jeon Jun-woo (left field), Han Dong-hee (designated hitter), Ko Seung-min (right field), Son Sung-bin (catcher), and Lee Hak-joo (shortstop) in the starting lineup. Aaron Wilkerson took the mound.
‘Cutter craftsman’ McCarty-Wilkerson, a 7-inning masterpiece without a break
It was a classic pitcher’s duel. The batting lineup didn’t have much to offer. Wilkerson was pitching flawlessly. He retired 18 batters in a row with five strikeouts through the sixth inning. He kept SSG’s bats in check with his mainstay cutter and changeup until he gave up a walk to leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo in the seventh. It was his first hit in 19 at-bats, but Wilkerson was unfazed. He got Choi Ji-hoon on a sacrifice bunt and Choi Ju-hwan on a fly ball to center field. With runners on second and third, Wilkerson stayed focused and struck out Choi on a wild pitch to end the no-hitter. He threw 95 pitches. He walked off the mound after seven innings of a 95-pitch no-hitter with one walk and six strikeouts. Wilkerson shut down the SSG lineup with a variety of pitches, including 28 four-seamers (up to 148 mph), 21 cutters, 22 changeups, 14 sliders, and 10 curves.
SSG’s McCarty was no slouch either. After striking out the side in the first inning, he gave up a leadoff single to Ahn Chi-hong in the second. But he struck out Jeon Jun-woo and then got Han Dong-hee to ground out to shortstop to end the second. He retired the side in order in the third and gave up a walk to Jung Hoon with two outs in the fourth, but struck out Ahn Chi-hong to get out of the inning. In the fifth inning, he gave up a bunt single to Ko Seung-min with two outs, but he got out of the jam. Another three-hit inning in the sixth. By the sixth inning, he had struck out nine batters, breaking the record for most strikeouts in a game. In the seventh, he gave up a leadoff double to Gudrum in right-center and a sacrifice bunt by Park Seung-wook put runners on first and third. However, he got Ahn Chi-hong and Jeon Jun-woo to fly out to end the threat. McCarty went the distance, allowing three runs on seven hits with one walk and nine strikeouts. McCarty threw 34 pitches, including 26 fastballs, 17 changeups, 15 curves and four sliders, topping out at 149 mph.
From the 8th inning, the bullpen went all out, mobilizing specialists…Yoon Dong-hee hit a pinch-hit single.
Wilkerson and McCarty both pitched the seventh inning. It was time for a bullpen battle and the bench to step up. First, Lotte brought in Koo Seung-min in the eighth to work a three-hit shutout inning. SSG brought in Moon Seung-won for the third straight inning. Lotte mobilized its bench resources. In the eighth inning, Lee Jung-hoon pinch-hit for Han Dong-hee and led off with a single to right. Ahn Kwon-soo came in to pinch-hit. A sacrifice bunt by Ko Seung-min put runners on first and second, and Son Sung-bin pinch-hit for Yoon Dong-hee. Yoon has been struggling with a hamstring injury lately, but he put all his energy into one at-bat.
Yoon worked a full count and took a fastball from Moon Seung-won for a timely double over the right field fence. Ahn Kwon-soo, who was on second base, scored the winning run.안전놀이터
Kim Won-joong, who took the loss after allowing the game-winning run in the 10th inning of the previous day’s extra-inning game, was back on the mound to start the ninth. Two batters later, he gave up a walk to Choo Shin-soo and a wild pitch, but he got Choi Ji-hoon to ground out to first base to complete the team no-hitter.
Lotte’s team no-hitter is the third team no-hitter in history. The LG Twins recorded the first on October 6, 2014, in the Jamsil NC, and the SSG Landers recorded the second on April 2, 2022, in the Changwon NC. SSG’s record was completed in extra innings. It took Lotte a year and four months to achieve a team no-hitter.