SEOUL, Nov. 24 (Yonhap) — With his club on the verge of a championship, NC Dinos’ right-hander Drew Rucinski tossed five shutout frames in a gutsy performance against the Doosan Bears on Tuesday.
In Game 6 of the Korean Series at Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, the American starter pitched on just two days’ rest, with the Dinos sitting one win away from their first title. He pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief in Saturday’s Game 4, which came on three days of break following his Game 1 start.
Rucinski didn’t look particularly sharp early in Tuesday’s game and labored through the first inning with 23 pitches.
He pitched himself into more trouble in the second inning, with two singles and a hit by pitch loading the bases for the top of the order.
And Rucinski somehow wiggled out of the jam unscathed. He struck out Heo Kyoung-min looking at an inside cutter, and then Jung Soo-bin flied out to deep center field, with Aaron Altherr making the catch at the track.
Rucinski threw his first three-up, three-down inning in the third, using only 10 pitches retire the heart of the Bears’ order.
Then in the fourth, Rucinski pulled off another impressive Houdini act, escaping unscathed after allowing a single and a double at the onset.
With runners at second and third, Rucinski induced three straight groundballs. Jose Miguel Fernandez, not exactly fleet of foot, wasn’t able to come home from third on the first two of those grounders. And for the final out, second baseman Park Min-woo made a fine sliding grab to nab Heo Kyoung-min at first.
Rucinski allowed a leadoff double to Jung Soo-bin in the fifth inning, but then retired the next three batters in order.
The Dinos broke the scoreless tie in the bottom fifth, putting Rucinski in line for his second win of the series.
With Rucinski having thrown 85 pitches through five, the Dinos summoned another starter, Mike Wright, from the bullpen.