Former Rider University pitcher Kevin Barry made his long-awaited major league debut for the Atlanta Braves Monday night by pitching three scoreless innings of relief against the New York Yankees at historic Yankee Stadium.

The 27-year-old Barry, who graduated from Rider in 2001, was promoted by Atlanta from Triple-A Richmond when reliever Phil Stockman went on the disabled list with a strained hamstring on Saturday. The 6’2″, 235-pound righthander was 3-4 with a 3.26 ERA primarily as a starter for Richmond this season, striking out 63 while walking just 27 in 77 1/3 innings over 15 games.

As Atlanta starter Tim Hudson struggled early in Monday night’s eventual 5-2 win by the Yankees, Barry started warming up in the Braves’ bullpen four different times before finally making taking the mound in his first major league game at the start of the bottom of the sixth inning.

After walking leadoff hitter Johnny Damon on five pitches, Barry retired Miguel Cairo on a sacrifice bunt that moved Damon to second. Derek Jeter then grounded out to shortstop, moving Damon to third with two outs. But Barry stranded the runner by recording his first major league strikeout when Jason Giambi whiffed at a 2-2 fastball.

In the seventh, Barry retired Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada on a couple of pop-ups before Andy Phillips stroked a triple high off the center field wall. Again, Barry stranded the runner at third as Bubba Crosby hit a grounder back to Barry, who made the play to retire the side.

Somewhat shockingly, the Braves sent Barry out for a third inning of work. Melky Cabrera started the eighth with a line drive single to right, but Damon fouled out, Cairo flied out and Jeter grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.

A two-time Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference pitcher of the year, Barry went 20-12 during his college career, recording a Rider single-season record 91 strikeouts in 2001. He graduated with a school record 262 strikeouts.

Barry was originally selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 15th round of MLB’s first-year player draft after his junior season, but became the first Rider player to return for his senior year after being drafted. In 2001, he was selected by the Braves in the 14th round.

Kevin Barry’s Career Minor League Statistics

Year/Team  ERA  GS  SV  IP  ER  BB 
2001 A-Jamestown  0.86  29  12  31.1  14  18  54 
2002 A-Myrtle Bch  2.52  47  26  50.0  37  14  14  17  67 
2003 AA-Greenville  4 4.95  51  56.1  54  36  31  32  68 
2004 AA-Greenville  0.73  20  24.2  15  10  31 
2004 AAA-Richmond  2.52  30  35.2  25  15  10  25  40 
2005 AA-Mississippi  1.23  7.1 
2005 AAA-Richmond  2.85  32  79.0  60  28  25  44  73 
2006 AAA-Richmond  3.26  15  12  77.1  73  33  28  27  63 

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