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Versatile slugger keys opportunistic offense in Korean Series

All Headlines 19:08 October 29, 2017

By Yoo Jee-ho

SEOUL, Oct. 29 (Yonhap) -- From the very beginning of the Korean Series, Kia Tigers' outfielder Roger Bernadina has been an offensive force.

And unless the pitchers opposing him on the Doosan Bears can figure out ways to contain him, the Tigers will likely cruise to the 2017 Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) championship Monday.

The Tigers defeated the Bears 5-1 in Game 4 of the Korean Series on Sunday at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul, behind Bernadina's three-hit day at the plate.

The Tigers lead the best-of-seven series three games to one and can finish off the two-time defending champions Monday back at Jamsil Stadium.

On Sunday, Bernadina, a Curacao native, knocked in the Tigers' first run of the game with a triple in the top of the first inning. He shot one down the right field line and sprinted to third as the ball got into deep right field corner.

He later came home on Choi Hyoung-woo's infield single.

Roger Bernadina of the Kia Tigers hits an RBI single against the Doosan Bears in the top of the seventh inning in Game 4 of the Korean Series at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Oct. 29, 2017. (Yonhap)

Then with the Tigers up 3-0 in the seventh, Bernadina added an insurance run with a sharp single to left, picking up his second RBI of the day in the process.

He has a hit in every game of the series so far. He belted a three-run home run off Doosan starter Dustin Nippert in Game 1, which the Tigers ended up losing 5-3.

When Kia starter Yang Hyeon-jong threw a complete game shutout to lift the Tigers to a 1-0 victory in Game 2, Bernadina went 2-for-2 with a steal.

In Saturday's Game 3, the slugger went 2-for-4 with an RBI.

After more heroics Sunday, Bernadina is batting 8-for-15 with a home run and six RBIs in the series. He has picked up right where he left off in the regular season, in which he batted .320 with 27 home runs, 111 RBIs and 32 steals. He was one of just three players with at least 20 homers and 20 stolen bases this year.

He stands an excellent chance of winning the Korean Series MVP if he keeps it up and helps the Tigers knock off the Bears.

Bernadina has been the face of what has been an opportunistic offense for the Tigers. They've only hit two home runs so far but have been able to cash in on scoring chances at critical moments of games.

Bernadina said the key for him has just enjoying his first KBO postseason.

"It's an exciting time," he said. "And this was a good game. Im pitched a good game and we scored early."

Bernadina said he doesn't care about any individual glory as long as the Tigers keep on winning.

"I am focused on wins," he said. "Other things -- I am not really worried about them. I just want to win."

Roger Bernadina of the Kia Tigers slides into third base for his RBI triple against the Doosan Bears in the top of the first inning in Game 4 of the Korean Series at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Oct. 29, 2017. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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