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(LEAD) Baseball's defending champions receive 3rd straight scoreless start in preseason

All Headlines 15:53 March 16, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES with final result in paras 2-3)

SEOUL, March 16 (Yonhap) -- South Korean baseball's defending champions received a third straight scoreless start from their rotation in preseason Friday.

The Kia Tigers left-hander Pat Dean held the Nexen Heroes off the board over four innings while striking out eight in their Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) preseason game at Gwangju-Kia Champions Field in Gwangju, some 300 kilometers south of Seoul. It was Dean's first preseason start of the year. He handed the reins over to the bullpen with the Tigers up 2-0. They went on to win the game 4-3 after fending off a late Nexen charge.

With Dean out of the game, the Heroes got a run back in the top of the fifth. The Tigers responded with a run of their own in the bottom sixth for a 3-1 lead, but the Heroes scored twice in the top seventh to tie the game. The Tigers then scored the go-ahead run in the bottom eighth on a pinch-hit single by Baik Yong-hwan.

Though Dean didn't get the win, his strong outing came on the heels of two straight scoreless starts by Hector Noesi and Yang Hyeon-jong, both 20-game winners last season when the Tigers won their first championship since 2009.

On Tuesday, Noesi tossed three shutout innings against the Doosan Bears. Yang, the reigning regular season MVP, followed that up with three scoreless innings of his own against the same Bears.

Dean was scheduled to start Thursday against the Heroes, but the game was rained out. And with an extra day of rest and preparation, Dean looked sharp Friday, as he scattered three hits against the Heroes team that had launched six home runs in their two previous preseason games.

Dean was the Tigers' No. 3 starter in 2017, his first season in the KBO. He overcame a shaky midseason stretch and had a strong finish, and was the winning pitcher in Game 3 of the Korean Series against the Bears.

In this file photo taken Oct. 28, 2017, Pat Dean of the Kia Tigers returns to the dugout after the top of the sixth inning against the Doosan Bears in Game 3 of the Korean Series at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul. (Yonhap)

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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