S. Korea blows out Venezuela 13-2 for 2nd straight Premier 12 win

November 12, 2015
S. Korean OF Kim Hyun-soo, right, is greeted by teammates after scoring. Kim drove in three runs in two straight games. (Yonhap)

S. Korean OF Kim Hyun-soo, right, is greeted by teammates after scoring. Kim also drove in three runs in two straight games. (Yonhap)

TAOYUAN, Taiwan (Yonhap) — With its offense firing on all cylinders, South Korea blew out Venezuela 13-2 for its second straight victory at the Premier 12 baseball tournament here on Thursday.

Third baseman Hwang Jae-gyun launched two solo home runs as part of his four-hit day, and No. 3 hitter Kim Hyun-soo knocked in three runs, as South Korea improved to 2-1 at the inaugural competition at Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium in Taiwan.

The game ended after seven innings on a mercy rule: a game is called after five innings if a team is up by 15 runs, or after seven innings if a team is leading by at least 10.

Starter Rhee Dae-eun held Venezuela to two runs on six hits over five innings to earn the victory. Venezuela threw seven pitchers at South Korea to no avail.

South Korea will next play Mexico on Saturday and the United States on Sunday, both at Tien-Mou Stadium in Taipei City, to wrap up the group stage. A dozen teams have been paired into two groups of six, and the top four countries from each group will reach the quarterfinals.

After scoring 10 runs over the final three innings in a 10-1 win over the Dominican Republic Wednesday, South Korea picked up right where it left off, scoring three times in the opening frame this time.

The first two hitters of the game reached with singles, and Kim Hyun-soo drove home both of them with a double off the right-center wall.

After a two-out walk, Hwang Jae-gyun hit a single up the middle for a 3-0 South Korean lead.

That was all she wrote for Venezuelan starter Carlos Monasterio, who was charged with three earned runs on four hits in just 2/3 innings.

Venezuela got a pair of runs back in the top third. Juan Apodaca opened the inning with a solo home run off starter Rhee Dae-eun, who’d been cruising with four strikeouts in the first two innings.

Rhee then gave up a single and threw a wild pitch. Following a sacrifice bunt, Gregorio Petit delivered a single up the middle to cut the deficit to 3-2.

South Korea blew the game open with a four-spot in the bottom fourth.

Hwang Jae-gyun started the frame with a solo home run over the left field off Roberto Palencia. Kang Min-ho followed it up with a towering double to right, and Kim Jae-ho smoked one down the third base line for an RBI double for a 5-2 lead.

Two batters later, Kim Hyun-soo knocked in the team’s third run of the inning with a single to right.

It chased Palencia from the game, and after Kim stole second, Lee Dae-ho got an RBI single off new pitcher Jhonny Caraballo, putting South Korea up 7-2.

Hwang went deep again in the fifth, also a solo shot to left. With two men on later in the same inning, Jeong Keun-woo’s sharp single made it 9-2 South Korea. Son Ah-seop hit a sacrifice fly and gave South Korea a 10-2 cushion.

Veneuzuela then gift-wrapped two more runs to South Korea with an error in the bottom sixth. With runners on first and second, pitcher Yosue Castellano fielded a short grounder toward the third base side but airmailed the throw over the first baseman Francisco Caraballo, allowing both runners come home.

Later in the inning, a sacrifice fly by pinch hitter Oh Jae-won made it a 13-2 game.

After Rhee left the game, Woo Kyu-min and Lee Tae-yang, two right-handers with a sidearm delivery, took care of Venezuela for two clean innings to seal the deal.

Batting seventh, Hwang went 4-for-4 with two homers and three RBIs. Kim Hyun-soo went 2-for-4 and now has six RBIs in his past two games.

The winning manager, Kim In-sik, tried to downplay the significance of another huge victory.

“Some days, you can score a lot of runs, but on other days, you might be in for close victories,” he said. “Our offense got it going from early on and it made things easy for us the rest of the day.”

South Korea has an off-day Friday and Kim said there will be no practice.

“The players are exhausted and we have a couple of ailing players,” Kim said of outfielders Lee Yong-kyu, who has dealt with dehydration the past two days, and Min Byung-hun, who suffered a bruised left foot after getting hit by a pitch on Wednesday.

“We need them to get well fast, and we will all rest tomorrow,” Kim added.