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(LEAD) Pitchers primed for rematch after memorable postseason duel

All Headlines 11:31 October 23, 2015

(ATTN: ADDS details in last 3 paras)
By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Oct. 23 (Yonhap) -- With a berth in the championship final in South Korean baseball at stake, two pitchers are primed for a rematch after their memorable duel just a few days earlier.

The NC Dinos will host the Doosan Bears in a deciding Game 5 of their second round Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) playoff series at 2 p.m. Saturday at Masan Stadium in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province. The Dinos right-hander Zach Stewart and the Bears southpaw Jang Won-jun will be back on the mound, after they matched each other pitch for pitch in Game 2 on Monday.

Stewart got the last laugh, as he fired a complete game for NC's 2-1 victory, giving up three hits and striking out eight. Stewart kept the Bears off balance all evening with a devastating cutter, and his only blemish was a solo home run by Oh Jae-won in the eighth.

Jang himself tossed seven shutout innings, with only four hits allowed. He mostly pitched to contact, relying on sliders and changeups to work around jams.

When Oh's blast put the Bears up 1-0 after the top of the eighth, the Bears went to the bullpen with Jang in line for a victory. Reliever Ham Deok-ju, though, promptly squandered the lead on an RBI double and a wild pitch to take the loss.

In the regular season, Stewart had struggled against the Bears, with a 0-1 record in two appearances with a 6.57 ERA. He got his redemption in Game 2 at Masan, where he'd been 3-0 with a 2.11 ERA during the regular season.

Stewart has also been strong in day games, with a 2-0 record and a 2.70 ERA in two starts.

Jang has been the Bears' second best starter behind Dustin Nippert so far in the postseason. Nippert has given up just two earned runs in 23 innings, while Jang has allowed two earned runs in 13 innings.

Jang had a 1-1 record and a 2.77 ERA against the Dinos during the regular season. Game 2 was his first appearance this year at Masan Stadium.

He posted a lower ERA in day games (3.13) than in night games (4.23).

In Game 2, Stewart threw a season-high 122 pitches, and Jang also had a season-high 112 pitches. With both pitching on four days' rest Saturday, however, fatigue likely won't be an issue.

Both clubs have been solid in day games. In 18 regular season games that started in the afternoon, the Bears went 13-5, and the Dinos were 11-5, the two best winning percentages in the KBO. The Bears have won all three of their day games this postseason.

The Bears' staff posted a 3.76 ERA in day games, compared with their season mark of 5.02. They batted .324 in day games, led by No. 2 hitter Hur Kyoung-min (.478) and leadoff man Jung Soo-bin (.397).

The Dinos batted .308 during the day, compared with their season average of .289. Their cleanup Eric Thames boasts a .383 batting average in daylight.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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