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[2023 KBO Preview] Wasin Consultation, Revenge After a Year of Waiting

On Oct. 28, 2022, the students of Korea University and Yonsei University shared the same fate at Jamsil Baseball Stadium. KU cried and Yonsei laughed as they split a win and a loss in a regular season game that resumed three years after COVID-19. And now, in 2023, 안전놀이터 the Korea University baseball team is back with a vengeance. It is now up to the players of both schools to decide whether September 8, 2023, will be a day of heartbreak or a dramatic reversal. Victory songs or exciting primeval forests will resound in victory or defeat. Join STN X SPORTS KU as we analyze the strength of the KU baseball team and find out the key points to watch for the regular season.

Review: Yang Kyo’s 2023 look back

In the baseball game of the 2022 regular season at Jamsil Sports Complex in Seoul last October, KU scored an early run to take control of the game, but a lack of depth and a collapse in the pitching staff led to a 2-8 defeat. KU players celebrate their team’s early score. Photo┃SPORTS KU DB


U League: A mix of promise and disappointment – 7 wins, 1 draw, and 2 losses in 10 games (1st place)

KU hasn’t exactly been a dominant force in the league this season. They started the season on a good note with four straight wins and a win over Kyung Hee University, but a draw and two losses in their next three games raised concerns. However, they turned things around with a 10-run victory over Dongguk, and then rode the momentum to win all of their remaining games to finish first in Group A, a higher ranking than last year. In the U-League, however, the team’s pitching staff seemed to repeat last year’s struggles, and the team’s frustrating batting performance was very disappointing, with only two wins against four teams classified as relative powerhouses. It was enough to make the No. 1 ranking feel like a joke.

National Collegiate Baseball Championship: A dominant showing, first trophy in 11 years – 5 games to 5 (rainout)

This year’s championship was expected to be tough from the start due to injuries to key players and hot weather. However, KU overcame all odds to finish the tournament in a best-case scenario, winning its first title in 11 years. The offense exploded at the right time, scoring an average of nine runs per game, and the pitching staff split innings evenly among six pitchers, posting a 2.41 ERA for the tournament. The team’s shortcomings in the league were all but forgotten. Korea University defeated Chung-Ang University to reach the final, but due to rain, the tournament ended in a tie with Dongguk University. They had to swallow their disappointment, especially since their opponent was Dongguk University, which had a 10-run cold win in the U League.

○Daesunggi National University Baseball Tournament: Disappointing runner-up, but successful in knocking off Kisun – 6 games, 5 wins and 1 loss (runner-up)

It was a tournament that continued the momentum from the championships, especially in the presidential year, where they faced a tough schedule with many strong teams, but they made it to the finals with a solid showing on both offense and defense. However, after playing nonstop for the past month, the team was unable to find the back of the net in the final against Gangneung Youngdong University, allowing the game-winning hit to come from behind. However, there was plenty to celebrate. Reaching the finals of back-to-back tournaments was a clear demonstration of their collegiate dominance, and their 6-5 victory over Yonsei in the semifinals was their first non-conference game of the season, giving them a head start on the regular season with a month to go. The key now is to carry the summer momentum into the regular season.

In October of last year, Yonsei pulled off a thrilling come-from-behind victory over Korea University’s ace Kim Yoo-sung in a baseball game at the Jamsil Sports Complex in Seoul. Yonsei players celebrate their team’s goal. Photo┃ SPORTS KU DB


U-League: Facing the worst, surviving the cliff – 11 games, 7 wins and 4 losses (5th place)

Yonsei’s April performance was one of despair. With only two wins in six games and just one loss away from elimination from the U-League King of Kings, the worst-case scenario of early elimination must have been looming over the team. But in May, after a two-week break to rebuild the team, Yonsei went on a five-game winning streak to finish fifth in Group B and narrowly qualify for the championship. During the five-game winning streak, the team defeated group leader Sungkyunkwan University 7-2. For Sungkyunkwan University, it was their only loss in the league.

○National Collegiate Baseball Championship: Rainy and cold, no chance to prove anything – 1 game, 1 loss (eliminated in the first round)

A futile first-round elimination. It’s even more disappointing that they were eliminated due to a cold rain. However, it is also true that the game against Sehan University was not a good one. The team was stymied by Sehan University’s starting pitcher and managed only four hits until the sixth inning. Yonsei made a curious appearance in the championship with the momentum of the second half of the U-League, but could only finish with an empty finish.

○Presidential National College Baseball Tournament: Meeting a foe with good momentum, looking forward to the next – Game 4, 3 games to 1 (Quarterfinals)

After a disappointing exit at the last championship, Yonsei showed that they were on the right track with a come-from-behind win against Jeju International in the first game. They met Sungkyunkwan University again in the Round of 16, and showed a much different side as they cruised to a 5-2 victory. In the quarterfinals, a hard-fought game that went into extra time eventually set up an unofficial matchup with Korea University. However, as if the good momentum wasn’t enough, Yonsei made three errors, all of which led to crucial goals, and suffered a one-point loss and had to pack up at the final gate. It was a disappointing result to be eliminated from the tournament due to an irregular loss, but it will be interesting to see how the team’s persistence in this tournament will grow in a month’s time.

■Dissecting baseball in the regular season, what should we pay attention to in the batting order?


Captain Oh Do-eun takes a batting stance in the first inning of the presidential game against Suseong University in July. Photo┃ SPORTS KU reporter Kim Min-ju

○BATTING: ‘Level up’ both finesse and power, aim for the ace

It’s safe to say that the batting has completely “leveled up” this season. The team batted .319, a whopping four points higher than last year’s .273, and generated a total of 206 hits. The frustration of coming up empty at the plate at crucial times last season was completely absent this year, and the team showed a marked increase in power, most notably by more than doubling their home runs from just five last season to 12 this year. It’s also encouraging to see significant increases in several ratio stats despite playing three more games than last season. It’s also easy to see from the individual stats that the quality of the entire lineup has improved, with nine players hitting over .300 and eight hitting home runs.

However, the key is that the regular season is a short-term game. Yonsei has an absolute ace in Kang Min-koo (Yonsei 23). In the last off-season game, we managed to score three runs against him, but it wasn’t a perfect game, as he struck out seven and had only five hits. Right now, Kang is indispensable for Yonsei. The moment a solid KU batting lineup manages to get to the ace, it will only be a matter of time before they celebrate a regular season victory.

Pitcher Lee Ji-won on the mound during the first round of the Presidential Game against Suseong University in July. Photo┃SPORTS KU reporter Kim Min-ju

○PITCHING: Solid pitching with no flaws, timing of substitutions is key

KU’s pitching staff this season can be described as a pitching kingdom. Unlike Yonsei, KU’s pitching staff did not have an absolute ace, but six players pitched more than 10 innings, and four of them pitched more than 20 innings, and there was a good distribution of innings across the board. Therefore, although KU’s pitching staff did not have any monster destructive power this season, it was the solidity and organization of the pitching staff that made it the best season since the mid-1990s. However, this can be a double-edged sword. With more options than last year, it’s easy to think of different cards to play in different situations, but pulling them out at the right time is another matter. Especially since one of the defeats of last year’s regular season was a poorly timed pitching change, the timing of the change will be a key watershed in determining whether this solid pitching staff will be able to utilize its full power.

In their first non-conference game of the season on Aug. 5 at HyoSung Baseball Theme Park, KU won 6-5 against Yonsei University. KU players perform a ceremony after the game. Photo by Kim Min-ju, Sports KU reporter

Best game of the season: 6-5 win over Yonsei in the semifinals of the 8/5 Presidential Games

What could be more valuable than the only non-conference win of the season? The concentration of the players was higher than ever, and their determination was visible in their eyes. The KU team lived up to the hype with a narrow 6-5 victory over Yonsei University. Of course, the match was not overwhelmingly good, but the fact that they were able to check each other’s skills with a month to go before the regular season, and at the same time, they were able to win and take control of the game, will give KU a lot of confidence before the regular season.


Yonsei’s Ko Kyung-pyo in a batting stance. Photo courtesy of Yonsei sports magazine Cisbumba

BATTING: A scary batting lineup that pushes the pace, but not in the regular season?

At the beginning of the season, Yonsei didn’t live up to its name with only 48 hits in the U League, excluding the game against Seoul National University. However, with an OPS over 8 percent and a slugging percentage s

○PICTHER : Kang Min-koo(Yonsei 23)

Despite being a freshman, Kang is Yonsei’s ace. He has pitched 45.2 innings, more than a third of Yonsei’s 135 innings this year, and has an excellent 1.57 ERA. He’s also very good at striking out batters. In 45.2 innings, he’s struck out 57 batters for a very respectable K% of 29.6%. Another thing to note is his excellent innings pitched. He averages about 4.2 innings per start, and he’s a “reliever” in the sense that he goes at least five innings per start. As a result, how quickly KU can get Kang out of the game will be a key factor in determining the outcome of the game.

Yonsei batter Ko Seung-wan (Yonsei 20). Photo courtesy of Yonsei University sports magazine Sisbumba

○BATTER: Ko Seung-wan (Yonsei 20)

Ko is the batting captain of Yonsei University. With a batting average of nearly .400 and 11 long balls, including one home run, he has a fearsome 1.130 OPS. On top of that, he has the most stolen bases and runs scored on the team. He’s a force to be reckoned with, both at the plate and in the field. And then there’s Go Seung-wan, the guy who hit the game-winning hit in last year’s clinching game. The biggest challenge for the KU pitching staff will be to stop Seung-wan Ko, who is an upgrade from last year.

The stars of the 20th through 23rd classes

Class 20: Raising the mound from their respective positions! Oh Do-eun (Chekyo 20) vs Cho Sung-min (Yonsei 20)

KU 20 catcher Oh Do-eun. Photo┃SPORTS KU DB

○KU 20 catcher Oh Do-eun

KU: What is your advantage in hitting?

Oh Do-eun: I have a lot of deficiencies in my batting compared to other players. However, I think my strength is my long batting power. I hit a lot of long balls because I always think of a full swing.

KU: What is the most important thing about your defense?

Oh Do-eun: Communication with the pitcher and ball placement. It’s important to make the pitcher throw pitches that the batter is not expecting, so that he can get a hit or a strikeout and get more outs.

KU: Does playing catcher take a toll on your body?

Oh Do-eun: It was physically demanding. When I would go home on my days off, my parents, who were busy working, would cook me delicious food without much effort, which helped me replenish my stamina. My maternal grandmother also sent me a lot of healthy things. I also did a lot of weight training so that I wouldn’t lose fitness in the summer. I plan to do the same for the regular season.

KU: As captain, what would you like to say to your teammates?

Oh Do-eun: Let’s win the regular season perfectly and become the 20th class to become a legend in the ancient baseball club!

KU: What are your words of determination for the 2023 regular season?

Oh Do-eun: I will try to show you how to win without any excuses.

Yonsei 20 pitcher Cho Sung-min. Photo courtesy of Yonsei University sports magazine Sisbumba

○Yonsei 20 pitcher Cho Sung-min

KU: What are your strengths as a pitcher?

Cho Sung-min: My fastball.

KU: What was your best pitching performance in the 2023 season and what did you like about it?

Cho Sung-min: It was Inha-dae in the U-League. I think I had a good ratio of slider and changeup.

KU: Which pitch are you most confident in?

Cho Sung-min: My changeup to righties.

KU: What would you like to see in the regular season?

Cho Sung-min: Screaming akaraka after winning!

KU: What are your words of determination for the 2023 regular season?

Cho Sung-min: The whole team will unite and win unconditionally.

◇21st Class: Who is the real solution to add weight to the batting lineup? Park Gun-woo (Chekyo 21) vs Kim Jin-hyung (Yonsei 21)

KU 21 catcher Park Gun-woo. Photo┃SPORTS KU DB

○Korea University 21 catcher Park Gun-woo

KU: What are your strengths in batting?

Park Gun-woo: Long-hitting and accuracy. Last year, I didn’t have a high batting average because I only focused on long balls, so this year I’m focusing on both accuracy and long balls.

KU: You’re batting fourth and designated hitter, what is your role in the batting order?

Park: I think the role of the No. 4 hitter is to get runners in scoring position.

KU: You have 14 RBIs in 16 games this year, what do you think contributes to your success with runners in scoring position?

Park Gun-woo: I like hitting with runners in scoring position more than when I’m the leadoff hitter, but with Ahn Jae-yeon (Cheonggyo 22), Kim Bum-jin (Cheonggyo 21), and Heo Jin (Cheonggyo 20) in front of me, I have a lot of chances. I bat boldly at those times, and I think that’s why I’ve done so well this year.

KU: What will you be focusing on in training for the regular season?

Park Gun-woo: The team atmosphere is so good right now that I don’t have to focus on anything else, and I think we’ll win easily if we keep practicing what we’ve been doing.

KU: What are your words of determination for the 2023 regular season?

Park Gun-woo: The players’ pace is very good, so I think you can expect it this year, and I will show my best until the end.

Yonsei’s 21st outfielder Kim Jin-hyung. Photo courtesy of Yonsei University sports magazine Sisbumba

Kim Jin-hyung, Yonsei’s 21st outfielder

KU: What are your strengths at the plate?

Kim Jin-hyung: Fast running and good contact.

KU: Why were you able to reduce your strikeouts so much from last season?

Kim Jin-hyung: There is no other reason, I think it is because I have been playing a lot of games since last year and have gained experience.

KU: You’re second on the team in RBIs, why do you get so many good results in scoring position?

Kim Jin-hyung: I’m a center fielder, so I think I’ve been able to do a good job with runners in scoring position because I have the mindset that I have to get them out.

KU: What would you like to see in a regular season game?

Kim: Last year, I had three RBIs and helped the team win. I hope to help the team win again this year.

KU: What are your words of determination for the 2023 regular season?

Kim Jin-hyung: I think the regular season is a festival that many classmates come to and enjoy together. I will definitely win so that I can repay my classmates for their support.

◇22nd class: A clash of two-hit aces, who will win? Jung-heon Jeong (Chekyo 22) vs Doo Jung-min (Yonsei 22)

KU’s 22nd pitcher, Jeong Hyeon-heon. Photo┃SPORTS KU DB

KU 22 pitcher Jung Hyeon-heon

KU: What is your mindset going into the regular season and what are you most looking forward to?

JUNG: I’m looking forward to winning, which is different from last year. I’m most looking forward to the atmosphere where many of my classmates will cheer us on.

KU: What role do you want to play in the regular season?

I would like to play as a starting pitcher, and if the coach gives me the opportunity, I would like to dominate the Yonsei batters and win the game from the first to the ninth inning.

KU: What would you like to say to your fellow KU students who will be cheering you on?

Jung: I think our baseball team will win the series in a must-win game. Please support us and look forward to it!

KU: Lastly, do you have any words for Yonsei?

Jeong Ji-heon: Don’t be too disappointed with the cold game score, guys!

Yonsei’s 22nd outfielder Doo Jung-min. Photo courtesy of Yonsei University sports magazine Sisbumba

Doo Jung-min, Yonsei’s 22nd outfielder

KU: You played center field in the regular season last year. Is there anything you’d like to change about this year’s tournament?

Doo Jeong-min: Last year, I was a freshman and I played with only my ambition, but this year, I will play with experience and ambition.

KU: What are some of your goals for this year’s competition?

Doo Jung-min: First of all, winning the regular season is the most important goal. Personally, I hope to hit a few home runs.

KU: Lastly, do you have any words for KU?

Doo Jung-min: We will win “lightly” this year as we did last year.

◇23rd Class: Who will dominate the regular season with newfound determination? Kim Jun-yup (Chekyo 23) VS Hong Seo-yeon (Yonsei 23)

Kim Jun-yup, a 23rd-year infielder at Korea University. Photo┃SPORTS KU DB

○Korea University 23rd infielder Kim Jun-yup

KU: What is your mindset and expectations for your first regular season game as a 23rd student?

Kim Jun-yup: I’ve been to the regular season games in 2019 and 2022, but this time I’ll be playing on the field, so I’m excited and looking forward to it.

KU: Do you have any goals you’d like to accomplish during the tournament?

Kim Jun-yup: I want to hit a come-from-behind triple and do a ceremony, and I want to win so I can sing Liberty Bell from the mound.

KU: What would you like to say to your fellow KU fans?

Kim Jun-yup: KU will win again this year, so I hope you will come and support us.

KU: Lastly, do you have any words for Yonsei?

Kim Jun-yup: I hope we can have a great game and make good memories.

Hong Seo-yeon, Yonsei’s 23rd infielder. Photo courtesy of Yonsei University sports magazine Sisbumba

Hong Seo-yeon, Yonsei’s 23rd infielder

KU: As the 23rd outfielder, what is your mindset and what do you want to accomplish?

Hong Seoyeon: As a freshman, I want to help my older brothers and brighten up the team atmosphere, and my goal is to win no matter what.

KU: How do you feel about the team atmosphere at Yonsei as you prepare for the regular season?

Hong Seoyeon: It’s very good. The seniors have been saying a lot of good things, and the coaches have been giving us a lot of confidence.

KU: Who would you most like to play against at KU?

Hong Seo-yeon: Kim Bum-geun (Chekyo 23). I lost to him in high school on a pitcher’s mound, so if we meet again, I would love to beat him.

KU: Do you have any last words for KU?

Hong Seo-yeon: I hope we don’t hurt each other and have a fun and cool game. Go KU!

-SPORTS KU DB-Provided by Sisbumba, Yonsei University Sports Magazine

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