• June 6, 2023

Seung-hwan Oh becomes the first Korean-American and Korean-Japanese pitcher to reach 500 saves in his career after throwing a scoreless first inning against NC

Samsung Lions closer Seung-hwan Oh has reached the 500-save milestone for his career in Korea, the United States, and Japan.

스포츠토토 Oh pitched one scoreless inning in relief against the NC Dinos in Game 6 of the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Samsung Lions Park in Daegu, South Korea, to earn his eighth save of the season.

With his 378th career save in the KBO, Oh reached 500 saves in his Korean-American career, including 80 in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB-2) and 42 in Major League Baseball (MLB-4). He is the first Korean-American to record 500 saves in professional baseball.

Oh was the fifth pitcher to take the mound after Baek Jung-hyun (5 innings), Kim Tae-hoon (⅔ innings), Hong Jung-woo (1⅓ innings), and left-hander Lee Seung-hyun (1 inning). With his team leading 9-6 in the top of the ninth, Oh gave up a leadoff single to Son As-seob, but retired the next batter, Seo Ho-cheol, on a line drive to second base. With the bases loaded and two outs, he threw Jason Martin’s grounder to first base for the final out.

Since 2005, his first year as a professional, Oh has established himself as the team’s go-to closer, recording double-digit saves in five consecutive years. In 2007, he set the KBO record for 100 saves in the shortest amount of games (180), and in 2012, he surpassed former Chung-Ang University coach Kim Yong-soo’s 227 saves to become the KBO’s all-time leader in career saves.

After playing in Japan and the United States, Oh returned to the KBO in 2020 and showed off his rusty skills. In 2021 (44 saves), he reached 40 saves in a single season for the first time in a decade.

However, Oh struggled early in the season and was relegated to the closer’s role. In early May, he had a breakthrough with his “debut” start. Seung-hwan Oh threw 73 pitches in five innings against the Daegu Kiwoom Heroes on May 3, and he started to improve.

Samsung manager Park Jin-man, who met with him before the Incheon SSG Landers game on the 1st, said, “I think the end of the ball is much better than before I went down to the second team.” “Before the expungement, my fastball felt a little dull, but now the end of the ball is still alive. If the fastball is alive, the changeup will also be alive. I think I can definitely see the aggressive side of him.” He also looked at Oh Seung-hwan’s rebound positively.

Seung-hwan Oh made his first save since returning to the first team against the Changwon NC Dinos last month on May 19, and he also collected one save against the Incheon SSG Landers on May 31 and the Daejeon Hanwha Eagles on June 2, taking one step closer to the record. And he finally made it in front of his home fans.

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