Left-handed pitcher Son Ju-young (26), the LG Twins’ fifth starter in the 2024 season, started the season on a high note.

Son started against the Samsung Lions in the 2024 Shinhan SolBank KBO League at Jamsil Stadium on April 28 and held the Samsung bats scoreless over six innings, allowing just three hits and two walks. He struck out three.

The offense pounded out 25 hits as the Lions cruised to an 18-1 victory, while Son picked up his first win of the season.

Son shut out Samsung’s bats with a fastball that reached 148 mph. Of the 83 pitches he threw on the day, 49 were fastballs.

He mixed in forkballs (12), sliders, and curves (11+).

After striking out the side in the top of the first, Son Ju-young put runners on first and second with no outs in the bottom of the second on a single and an error, but he induced a walk to Oh Jae-il. He threw a hard-hit pitch to Jeon Byung-woo but got Kim Young-woong to fly out to center field to end the inning.

Son Ju-young faced a threat in the top of the third inning after giving up a leadoff single to Ahn Joo-hyung to left, but he got Koo Ja-uk to ground into a double play to end the inning.

In the fourth inning, there was another threat. After walking leadoff hitter David McKinnon and hitting Minho Kang with a single, Oh struck out Jae-il Oh, but gave up a walk to Byung-woo Jeon to load the bases.

But no runs were scored. He struck out Kim Young-woong and induced an infield grounder to Ahn Joo-hyung.

Son ended the fifth and sixth innings with strikeouts to end the inning.

LG, which had tied Samsung 2-2 in 12 extra innings the day before, used seven pitchers, but Son Joo-young’s quality start (three earned runs or less over six innings) gave the bullpen some breathing room.

“It feels good to have a good start to the season,” said Son. “Yesterday’s game was a big bullpen drain, so I knew I had to go long,” said Son, “and my goal was to go six innings no matter what, even if they scored three or four runs.

“I had the strength to go up in the seventh inning,” said Son, who didn’t have many pitches (83). After the fifth inning, my coach told me to pitch one more inning, so I knew I would pitch until the sixth inning.”

As for how he kept his composure in crunch time, Son said, “I just followed my catcher (Park) Dong-won’s signals. He was inexperienced, so I tried to follow his lead.”

Son started the 2022 season on a high note.

In his first start of the season, on April 6 against the Gochuk Kiwoom Heroes, he pitched six innings of two-hit ball with one run allowed.

However, he hit an injury reef, and after two more appearances, he underwent elbow ligament reconstruction (Tommy John surgery) and a lengthy rehabilitation.

Son returned to the first team in September last year and showed 토토 off his improved form. He traveled to Arizona in late January to prepare for the season, and he succeeded in securing a spot in the five-man roster, and he was victorious in his first start of the season.

“Two years ago, I wasn’t feeling well, but now I’m fine, and I feel better today than I did two years ago because I don’t feel sore after pitching,” Son said with a smile.

When asked, “Do you think it helps to start preparing for the season early?”, Son replied, “It does. I think it would be better to prepare faster and increase my pace,” he said, adding, “I might have problems maintaining my pace, but my brother (Im) Chan-kyu is giving me a lot of advice.”

Son threw only fastballs to Kim Ji-chan and Kim Sung-yoon in the top of the first inning and got them to fly out to center field. Then, against Koo Ja-uk, he fired a fastball for a strikeout on a wild swing.

“I thought my fastball had power,” Son said. I threw it thinking it was a good fastball,” he said, explaining, “I’m a pitcher who needs to throw a lot of fastballs.”

The big lead also gave him a lot of confidence. “I also made some adjustments to my delivery. I threw my fastball in the low 140 kilometers per hour and then raised my velocity in a crisis,” he said, adding, “The batters scored a lot of runs.”

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