HICKORY, N.C. -- With the GreenJackets facing the possible end of their season Saturday, manager Billy Gardner shook up his lineup for Game 2 of the South Atlantic League semifinals.
Brian Wiese got the start in left field and batted eighth, while Joe Kerrigan batted sixth as the designated hitter.
The 23-year-old Wiese, selected by Boston in the 10th round of the draft in June, batted .118 in 23 games after a promotion from short-season Lowell in August. Kerrigan, the son of Red Sox pitching coach Joe Kerrigan, appeared in just nine games for the Jackets and batted .200.
"I wanted Wiese in there for his defense with (starting pitcher) Marty (McLeary) in there, because guys put the ball in the air more against him," Gardner said. "And Kerrigan is a good situational hitter and is also a left-handed bat in the lineup."
Wiese started both games of the Jackets' SAL Divisional series vs. Columbus, going 0-for-7 with two strikeouts. He also made an error in Game 2 on Wednesday. Kerrigan did not appear in the Jackets' first three playoff games.
ACE IN THE HOLE:
Though the original plan was for recent call-up Eric Glaser to start the fifth playoff game, the sweep of Columbus in the divisional series prompted Gardner and pitching coach Larry Pierson to bring back ace Jason Norton tonight if the Jackets forced a decisive Game 3 vs. Hickory.
The 20-year-old Glaser was outstanding in his Augusta debut last week, tossing five shutout innings for a victory over Macon on the next to last day of the regular season.
Still, it was a no-brainer to call on Norton once more. The 23-year-old Norton was the Jackets' top pitcher in 1999, going 9-6 with a 2.32 ERA -- fourth best in the SAL.
Glaser, a second-round pick of the Red Sox in 1997, spent most of the season at Lowell and was promoted to Augusta when Josh Hancock went on the disabled list last week.
There weren't many fans in the seats at L.P. Frans Stadium on Saturday, but Jackets hitting coach Gomer Hodge had a pretty sizable personal cheering section.
Hodge lives in Rutherfordton, N.C., about 60 miles from Hickory. His wife, Debbie, son Nicholas and several friends and family members made the short drive to support Hodge and the Jackets.
"I'm not even going to think about going straight home from here," Hodge said. "We're not going to lose. I want to have to make travel plans to get home from either Fayetteville or Columbia."
The winner of the series will face the Cape Fear-Capital City semifinal winner in the SAL Championship series next week.
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