Originally created 05/20/00

Jackets continue to surge



There isn't an easy out to be found on the GreenJackets lineup card these days.

And then there's the top four in the batting order, who especially have been giving opposing pitchers fits lately.

Nos. 1-4 hitters Lew Ford, Cesar Saba, Carlos Rodriguez and Luis Garcia continued their three-day long feast on Delmarva pitching, once again setting the tone in a 5-2 victory Friday night at Lake Olmstead Stadium.

"When we get Ford and Saba going, then Rodriguez and Garcia, those top four are pretty good hitters," GreenJackets manager Mike Boulanger said. "When you get all four clicking, which doesn't happen very often, you've got a chance to win."

The foursome finished a combined 9-for-16 with five RBI and two runs scored, leading the Jackets to their third straight win over the Shorebirds. Augusta enters today's final game of the four-game set looking to complete their second series sweep in the past week.

Ford went 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 15 games, and Saba extended his streak to 12 with a 2-for-4, 2 RBI performance.

Rodriguez is 6-for-14 in his past three games after a 3-for-5 night, while Garcia went 2-for-3 with his ninth home run of the season -- a solo shot in the second inning off Delmarva starter and former Clemson ace Mike Paradis (3-3).

"When I see the other guys on the team hitting, I want to be like them," said Rodriguez, who got off to a slow start this season, but raised his average to .241 with his three-hit performance.

Surging left fielder Chris Warren -- who entered the game sixth in the South Atlantic League in batting with a .333 average -- went 0-for-4 to end his hitting streak at 12 games. Warren and third baseman Chas Terni were the lone Jackets to go hitless.

The bottom three of the order -- designated hitter Andrew Riepe, catcher Kelly Ramos and second baseman Jon Anderson -- also had two hits apiece, as the Jackets collected 15 hits to spark their 11th win in 15 games.

Augusta (21-22) moved to within one game of the .500 mark for the first time since an opening-day loss at Hickory.

Reliever Eric Glaser (2-3), who took over for starter Wil Ledezma to begin the fifth inning, allowed two runs and three hits in three innings to pick up the victory. Closer B.J. Leach pitched a perfect final two innings to record his league-leading 12th save.

Making his second start since coming back from a two-week stint on the disabled list, Ledezma was another bright spot. Working on a pitch count in his return from tightness in his left shoulder, the 19-year-old did not allow a run and surrendered just two hits and struck out six in four innings.

"He definitely carried himself much better on the mound than he has," Jackets pitching coach Bob Kipper said. "I was pleased with his composure."

NOTES: Outfielder Jose Pena left the team during the recent four-game road trip in Macon and apparently has retired.

When the Jackets returned to their hotel from Sunday's game, Pena had already left. When the team returned to Augusta on Tuesday, he already had packed his belongings and left town.

Pena was placed on the suspended list by the Red Sox earlier this week. Boulanger said his whereabouts are unknown. The native of the Dominican Republic was batting .214 in 117 at-bats before his departure.

Infielder Patrick Santoro, who was placed on the disabled list last week with a sprained wrist, left for Fort Myers, Fla., and will begin rehab at the Red Sox's spring training facility.

JACKETS TONIGHT

Vs.: Delmarva Shorebirds (Orioles)

Where: Lake Olmstead Stadium

When: 7:05 p.m.

Probable starters: Delmarva -- LHP Erik Bedard (1-1, 2.52 ERA); Augusta -- RHP Anastacio Martinez (2-3, 5.49)

Tickets: $7, $6, $5.

Promotion: Fly Away to Fenway Night -- Win a free trip to see the Red Sox play at Fenway Park.