’12 RBIs’ Hanwha mired in 4-game losing streak due to lack of ‘one hit’

The Hanwha Eagles suffered a heartbreaking reversal of fortune and fell into a four-game losing streak. An ambitious batting lineup change card was only half successful.

Hanwha fell 3-5 in the first game of the 2024 Shinhan SOL Bank KBO League against the Doosan Bears at Jamsil Baseball Stadium in Seoul on Monday. The loss followed a sweep at the hands of the Kiwoom Heroes in Gocheok last weekend.

Hanwha got a solid outing from starter Sanchez, who pitched five innings, allowing one run on five hits and two walks while striking out seven and walking one, but the offense couldn’t get enough firepower. They took advantage of a fielding error in the Doosan infield in the top of the third inning to take a 3-0 lead with consecutive RBI singles by Ahn Chi-hong, Chae Eun-sung, and Lee Jin-young, but were unable to add any more runs. This gave Doosan a chance to rally, but they had to settle for the loss.

Hanwha manager Choi Won-ho made a gamble by batting Chae Eun-sung in the sixth spot instead of center field. Chae hadn’t been hitting well since the regular season opened on March 23, batting .208 (11-for-53) with one home run, 10 RBIs and a .599 OPS in 13 games.

Chae went 0-for-15 in a three-game series against the Kiwoom Heroes in Gocheok last weekend. In game seven, she went silent with six at-bats and was unable to help Hanwha snap a three-game losing streak.

Choi Won-ho’s lineup was designed to take the pressure off Chae Eun-sung and maximize the batting lineup’s firepower. Ahn Chi-hong, who batted lightly against Kiwoom on July 7 with one hit, two walks and one run scored in four at-bats, batted fifth. With Peraza and Roh Si-hwan hitting well, the team hopes to capitalize on their synergy.

Peraza was batting .449 (22-for-49) with six home runs, 12 RBIs and a 1.431 OPS in 13 games since the regular season opened last month. Roh Si-hwan also picked up his hitting with a 4-for-6 performance against Kiwoom on April 7.

“If Chae Eun-sung was in good shape, I would have put her behind Noh Si-hwan (batting fourth), but she’s not feeling well right now,” Choi Won-ho explained before the game, “so I put her in the batting order after Noh Si-hwan because Ahn Chi-hong is feeling good at the moment, and then Chae Eun-sung.”

Han’s batting order change was successful early in the game. In the top of the third inning, with the score tied 0-0, Peraza drew a walk to put runners on first and 스포츠토토 second. The flow was interrupted when Noh Si-hwan grounded into an infield single and Peraza was thrown out at second base, but Ahn Chi-hong stepped up to the plate.

With runners on second and third in the top of the third, Ahn lined a clean single to left off Doosan starter Kim Dong-ju. Hanwha took an early 1-0 lead when Choi In-ho crossed home plate from third base.

Hanwha broke the silence when Chae Eun-sung walked to load the bases. Chae Eun-sung singled to left off Kim Dong-joo, scoring Noh Si-hwan from second base to give Hanwha a 2-0 lead. Lee Jin-young followed with an RBI single to give Hanwha a 3-0 lead.

Chae Eun-sung recorded a three-hit game, starting with a single in her second at-bat, followed by hits in the top of the fifth and seventh innings. It gave her a platform to break out of her hitting slump.

However, Hanwha was unable to capitalize on the win. In the top of the fourth inning, with runners on first and second, Moon Hyun-bin and Peraza were stranded on base.

Hanwha’s offense in the top of the sixth inning with a 3-1 lead was particularly disappointing. After a leadoff walk by Choi Jae-hoon and a single by Choi In-ho, the team had the bases loaded, but the trusty Peraza hit into a double play at second base, shortstop and first base.

Doosan came back to life in the top of the sixth inning. Park Jun-young hit a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth and Kim Jae-hwan hit a three-run homer in the top of the seventh to make it 5-3.

Hanwha was unable to overcome Doosan’s lead after giving up the comeback. In the top of the eighth, Moon Hyun-bin singled with the bases loaded. In the top of the ninth, Ahn Chi-hong singled off Doosan closer Jung Cheol-won to give the team one last hope, but Chae Eun-sung struck out to end the game.

Hanwha left a total of 12 stranded runners on the day. The lack of a decisive hit was the difference. While it was encouraging to see Chae Eun-sung come back to life, the team will prepare for the next game on Tuesday with the painful result of losing four straight games.

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