Noh Jin-hyeok (34, Lotte Giants) appeared at Changwon NC Park for the first time in the regular season after transferring to a free agent (FA). The players bowed their heads, and the fans applauded.
Noh Jin-hyeok started as Lotte’s 6th hitter and shortstop in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO league away game against the NC Dinos held at Changwon NC Park on the 21st.
Changwon (Masan) is a place with deep meaning to Noh Jin-hyeok. After graduating from Sungkyunkwan University, he joined NC as a founding member in 2012 and started his professional career. Until last year, Noh Jin-hyeok appeared in 801 games in NC alone and achieved a batting average of 0.266, 71 homers, 331 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.761. In the 2020 season, he hit 20 home runs and contributed to the team’s combined championship.
Ahead of this season, Noh Jin-hyeok signed a 4-year, 8 billion won free agent contract with Lotte and moved to the rival team of the ‘Nakdong River Derby’. At the time, Noh Jin-hyuk posted a handwritten letter through SNS and said his last goodbye, saying, “Although I am no longer NC’s No Jin-hyuk, I will live with the support and support you have sent me in my heart for the rest of my life.”
Although he visited once during an exhibition game, this was the first time Noh Jin-hyeok stood at Changwon NC Park in a non-NC uniform during the regular season. Also, after 195 days since the Hanwha match on October 8 last year, he entered the bat at Changwon NC Park.
Even before the game, Noh Jin-hyeok met and greeted his former teammates. Son A-seop, who ate a pot of rice in NC last year, touched Noh Jin-hyuk’s body, saying, “Why is your body so good?” He also made a bright expression while chatting with NC coach Kang In-kwon. He also responded to autograph requests from Changwon fans he met after a long time.
Noh Jin-hyeok, who entered the first plate after two deaths in the top of the second inning, bowed to the NC fans sitting on the first base before starting to hit. NC fans welcomed him with applause at his welcome face after a long absence.
NC played a proper match against Noh Jin-hyuk, whom he had met after a long time. Koo Chang-mo, the “local ace” who took the mound as a starter that day, threw only fastballs in succession against Noh Jin-hyeok. In the end, he struck out Noh Jin-hyeok with a 147 km/h fastball on the 4th pitch. This was the fastest ball out of 99 balls thrown by Chang-mo Koo that day. In the 5th inning, Noh Jin-hyeok struck out by Chang-mo Koo, and in the 7th, he struck out on a swing against the changed pitcher Jin-ho Kim.
However, Noh Jin-hyuk played a decisive role in making the team cry at the last moment. Noh Jin-hyeok, who appeared at bat with one out in the top of the 9th inning when the team was trailing 1-2, survived with a double in right field after a full count match against NC finisher Lee Yong-chan. Afterwards, Noh Jin-hyeok changed to Lee Hak-joo, the runner, and Han Dong-hee’s sacrifice fly made Lotte tie the score 2-2 with the runner on third base due to a wild throw. Lotte, who dramatically turned the game to the starting point, scored a come-from-behind victory 3-2 as Jung-hoon stepped on the home plate during pitcher Kim Yeong-gyu’s wild throw in the top of the 10th inning.
On this day, Noh Jin-hyeok finished the game with 1 hit and 3 strikeouts in 4 at-bats. Although he was silent in his first three at-bats,스포츠토토 he did not give up until the end and set the stage for a dramatic victory against his former team.