Originally created 06/19/00

Fourth inning explosion lifts Jackets



Augusta GreenJackets manager Mike Boulanger said he was going to take his wife to a movie and probably go out to dinner.

Pitching coach Bob Kipper was going home to visit his family in Greenville, S.C. Pitcher Ric Riccobono simply was going to kick back and relax, while most of the others not playing in Tuesday's South Atlantic League All-Star Game were going home.

With a three-day break ahead and the Southern Division title already clinched by Columbus, one might think the last thing on the team's mind was Sunday's game with the Macon Braves.

Not for these Jackets.

Augusta broke open a tight game with a three-run fourth inning to take a 5-1 decision in front of 2,250 at Lake Olmstead Stadium, salvaging a split in the four-game series and finishing the first half with a 38-33 record.

"Some teams, yeah I would have thought that about them (not caring about Sunday's game)," Boulanger said. "But not this team. This team played hard the last two nights even though we didn't win. Today it would have been easy to quit. But they hung in there and got the job done.

"This club here is different than your average club. They come to play every day, and I really love them for that."

Eric Glaser picked up his third victory, working five innings and allowing one run on two hits. His only mistake was a two-out solo homer to left by Macon's Nick Green.

Riccobono, making his first appearance since coming off the disabled list, worked the sixth inning and appeared to be back at full strength.

"I felt all right, a little uncomfortable though," said Riccobono, who should be back in the starting rotation when the season's second half begins on Thursday.

"I haven't pitched in a game since (last) Friday. It's been eight days since I've pitched, but I was just trying to get some work and get ready for Thursday," Riccobono said.

Augusta scored five runs on seven hits. The Jackets used Kelly Ramos' RBI groundout to score Luis Garcia for an early 1-0 lead.

In the fourth, consecutive walks to Ramos and Stephen Minus with two outs set up a two-run double from Kregg Jarvais. Jon Anderson followed with an RBI single to make it 4-1.

"We tried to stay focused," Riccobono said. "But games like this when you know you have a break can test that a little bit."

With the league's decision to go back to a two-division format this year, only the first- and second-half winners from each division make the postseason. There will be no wild card team this year.

The Jackets will make the postseason by winning the division title in the second half. If Columbus win the second-half title as well, Augusta general manager Chris Scheur said the Jackets still could make the playoffs providing they finish with the league's next best record over the entire season.

"The thing that impresses me, take away the first two weeks of the season, we have the best record in the South Atlantic League," Boulanger said. "Not Columbus, not Piedmont, us. So that's what you have to hang your hat on going into the second half.

"We don't have to do any better, we just have to continue playing like we have been and we have a chance."

Reach Tim Morse at (706) 823-3216.