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S. Korea shuts out Chinese Taipei for 1st win at regional baseball tournament

All Headlines 22:39 November 17, 2017

TOKYO, Nov. 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korea shut out Chinese Taipei 1-0 for its first win at the inaugural Asia Professional Baseball Championship (APBC) here on Friday.

Starter Im Gi-yeong twirled seven scoreless innings, and Lee Jung-hoo knocked in the only run of the game with a triple in the bottom of the sixth inning at Tokyo Dome.

The APBC features professional players from South Korea, Japan and Chinese Taipei under 24 years of age -- born on or after Jan. 1, 1993 -- or those with less than three years of professional experience.

South Korea bounced back from an 8-7, extra-innings loss to Japan from the previous night. And Friday's win also kept South Korea's title hopes alive.

Japan and Chinese Taipei will clash for the final round-robin game on Saturday. If Japan wins that game, then Japan and South Korea will square off in Sunday's final.

But if Chinese Taipei wins on Saturday, all three nations will end up with an identical 1-1 record. In that case, the standings will be determined by Team's Quality Balance (TQB), an index of (runs scored/innings the team batted)-(runs allowed/innings the team pitched). The two teams with the highest TQB will advance to the final.

All games will be at the Tokyo Dome.

Im Gi-yeong of South Korea throws a pitch against Chinese Taipei in the top of the second inning in the teams' round-robin game at the Asia Professional Baseball Championship at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo on Nov. 17, 2017. (Yonhap)

The teams traded zeroes for five innings, with Im holding the opponents to just one hit, and his counterpart, Chen Kuan-Yu, limiting Korea to just two hits.

Chen walked Kim Ha-seong with two outs in the sixth inning, and Lee made him pay with a towering triple off the right field wall.

Right fielder Chen Tzu-Hao failed to make a leaping grab as he slammed into the fence, and the ball rolled away from him as Kim scored easily from first. The hit also knocked Chen Kuan-yu out of the game.

Three relief pitchers for Chinese Taipei kept South Korea off the board, but their hitters had nothing against Im.

The 24-year-old right-hander struck out the side in the seventh, which turned out to be his final inning of work. He struck out seven and walked three, while giving up just two hits. He threw 109 pitches, 70 of them for strikes.

Lee Jung-hoo of South Korea watches his RBI triple against Chinese Taipei in the bottom of the sixth inning in the teams' round-robin game at the Asia Professional Baseball Championship at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo on Nov. 17, 2017. (Yonhap)

The South Korean bullpen, which blew a pair of three-run leads in Thursday's loss, got the job done this time, though it was far from easy.

In the eighth inning, right-hander Park Jin-hyung got into trouble after two outs, giving up a walk and a double to put mend at second and third.

Another right-hander, Jang Pil-joon, stepped up and struck out cleanup Chen Tzu-Hao looking to end the threat.

Jang stayed in the game for the ninth, and got around a one-out single by striking out the final two batters for the save.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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