Lotte Giants’ “New Ace” Na Kyun-ahn continued his good form in his last start of May with a no-hitter. His performance was overshadowed by the team’s upset loss, but he continued his upward trend and fully regained the form that earned him the regular season MVP award in April.
Na threw six innings of five-hit ball with two walks and nine strikeouts against the Kiwoom Heroes of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul on April 28.
Na dominated the Kiwoom lineup with a combination of a straight fastball and his signature forkball, which topped out at 147 mph 토토사이트 and averaged 143 mph on the day. He threw 42 of his 94 pitches, nearly half of which were forkballs, to throw off the batsmen’s timing.
He also displayed his trademark crisis management skills. He got through the early stages of the game without giving up a run, including runners on second and third in the first inning and runners on second and third in the second inning.
In the bottom of the third inning, when Lotte took a 2-0 lead, he faced a leadoff walk to Kim Jun-wan, a double to Kim Hye-sung, and a single to Lee Jung-hoo. He got Edison Russell to ground into a second baseman-to-first baseman double play to trade runs with two outs to minimize the damage.
Na kept the momentum going by retiring the Kiwoom offense in order in the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings. After getting Lee Won-seok to fly out to center field with two outs in the top of the sixth, he handed the mound over to Kim Do-gyu to start the bottom of the seventh with Lotte leading 5-1.
It was his third consecutive quality start+ pitch, following 6⅓ innings of one-run baseball against the Hanwha Eagles on the 17th and six scoreless innings against the NC Dinos on the 23rd, making him Lotte’s “new ace.
Na Gyun-an has had a few lulls, allowing five runs in four innings against the KIA Tigers on April 3 and four runs in five innings against the Doosan Bears on April 11. However, his recent pace has been consistent with his performance last month, when he went 4-0 with a 1.34 ERA in five games and was named the league’s top starting pitcher and monthly MVP.
But Na wasn’t smiling at the end of the game. Lotte was down 5-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning when the bullpen gave up five runs in quick succession, including a game-winning home run to Lim Ji-yeol.
Lotte missed out on a three-game weekend sweep, a four-game winning streak and sole possession of second place, while Na ended the week in disappointment as he was denied his sixth win of the season.