Sosa to face VandenHurk in Game 5 showdown
This year’s Korean Series hasn’t come to a quick conclusion. After tying 2-2 in the four previous games, Samsung and Nexen will send out Rick VandenHurk and Henry Sosa, respectively, as starters in Game 5 tonight at the neutral Jamsil Baseball Stadium in southeastern Seoul.
Both foreign pitchers are well known for their powerful fastballs with speed of 93 miles per hour or faster.
Six-foot-six VandenHurk’s fastballs come from up high, making them difficult for batters to hit. With his fastballs, quality curveballs and sliders, he went 13-4 with the league-leading 3.18 ERA and 180 strikeouts in the regular season.
Though the team lost, VandenHurk performed well in Game 1 of the series. He pitched six and one-third innings and allowed only two runs and five hits.
Sosa is not as tall as VandenHurk, but he also throws vicious fastballs. In the regular season, one of his pitches marked 159 kilometers per hour, about 98.8 miles per hour.
Sosa joined the Heroes in May after Brandon Knight was released from the team. The Dominican lost two of his first four games, but he worked on his fastballs and recovered to win nine games in a row, setting a record of consecutive wins. In total, he went 10-2 during the season with a 4.61 ERA.
He took the mound in Game 2 as the starter, but his performance was worse than expected. Sosa’s pitches weren’t fast enough and he allowed six runs in only two and two-third innings.
But Nexen’s Manager Yeom Kyung-yeop has said he doesn’t have any doubts in Sosa’s ability based on one bad performance, explaining that he was too nervous because he hasn’t pitched well against Samsung this season. Sosa has pitched in three games against Samsung this year, but did not have any wins or losses with a 6.00 ERA.
The series now moves to Jamsil Stadium, home of the Doosan Bears and LG Twins and neutral territory for the two contestants. Both teams could need two more wins to take the best-of-seven Korean Series. Samsung is fighting to keep the title for the fourth consecutive year, and Nexen is going for its first Korean Series title since the team was established in 2008.
The two teams split Games 3 and 4 held at Nexen’s Mokdong Baseball Stadium in Seoul. Nexen’s ace pitcher Andy Van Hekken, who is the league’s only 20-game winner, helped his team even the series in Game 4 on Saturday.
The American allowed no batters to touch first until Yamaico Navarro hit a solo homer in the seventh inning. The Heroes topped the Lions 9-3 with three homers.
Nexen had the first run of Game 3 in fifth inning, but Samsung reversed the outcome with Park Han-yi’s two-run homer in the top of ninth inning when the game was in 1-1 tie. Park was selected as the game’s MVP.
BY KIM BONG-MOON [firstname.lastname@example.org]
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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