By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, Nov. 18 (Yonhap) -- Canadian Olympic triathlon champion Simon Whitfield once said of nerves: "Don't try to get rid of the butterflies. Get them to fly in formation."
NC Dinos' right-hander Drew Rucinski probably didn't have Whitfield on his mind when he started Game 1 of the Korean Series against the Doosan Bears in Seoul on Tuesday night, but he took a similar approach in trying to handle and embrace his nervous energy.
He was successful in that regard, as he threw 5 1/3 solid innings for a 5-3 victory. Rucinski was the winning pitcher in the Dinos' first Korean Series win in franchise history.
"If you're not nervous, I don't know why you're playing this game, honestly," Rucinski said in an interview at Gocheok Sky Dome on Wednesday, prior to Game 2. "That was the biggest game for us for the season so far, and you've just got to find a way to harness those and do the best you can with it. Obviously I think everyone that plays this game, whether they say they do or not, has the nerves going into the game like that."
Rucinski gave up three runs but only one was earned. He struck out four while giving up five hits and three walks.
"It's exciting to finally get to be playing baseball again," Rucinski said, after the Dinos had 16 days off between games because they earned a bye to the Korean Series as the regular season champions. "You're not going to have your best stuff every night out there and strike everyone out. You just got to go out there and find ways to get out and keep the team in the game. I feel like I did a good job at that."
Rucinski pitched himself out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning. He fielded a comebacker off the bat of Jose Miguel Fernandez. He turned toward second base to start a double play, but shortstop No Jin-hyuk directed him toward home instead. Rucinski calmly threw home to get the force, and the slow-footed Fernandez was out by half a step at first for the inning-ending double play.
He said winning the first game is all nice but he also realizes there is much more baseball left to play.
"That's a great start for us, but that's all it is. It is a start," he said of the best-of-seven series. "We got a ways to go here, and we got to keep competing and keep doing our best we can. But to get a win in the first one is huge for us, and I'd love to see the competitiveness of our guys out there. Hopefully, we can keep that rolling today."
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