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Raider reunions throughout minor leagues this weekend

Nine players, one player/coach and one manager in pros in '14

April 21, 2014 · @MTAthletics

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Three sets of former Blue Raiders squared off this weekend across the minor leagues, with matchups in the International League, Pacific Coast League and Carolina League pitting one-time members of the Middle Tennessee baseball program against one another.

2014 BLUE RAIDERS IN THE PROS

Bryce Brentz, OF, Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA-BOS)
Brett Carroll, OF, Buffalo Bisons (AAA-TOR)
Michael McKenry, C, Colorado Springs Sky Sox (AAA-COL)
Coty Woods, P, Colorado Springs Sky Sox (AAA-COL)
Kenneth Roberts, P, Tulsa Drillers (AA-COL)
Hunter Adkins, P, Stockton Ports (A-OAK)
Justin Miller, OF, Potomac Nationals (A-WAS)
Will Skinner, OF, Lynchburg Hillcats (A-ATL)
Daniel Palo, P, Extended Spring Training (COL)
Jeremy Owens, OF/Coach, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (Atlantic League-Independent)
Andy Haines, Manager, New Orleans Zephyrs (AAA-MIA)

RAIDER REUNION IN NEW ORLEANS 

Andy Haines went on to coach in the professional ranks following a stint with the Blue Raiders through 2004. Haines is now the manager of the New Orleans Zephyrs of the Pacific Coast League.

2004 was Michael McKenry's first year as a Blue Raider. The Middle Tennessee catcher was drafted in the seventh round in 2006 by the Rockies, and returned the organization this offseason.

Haines and McKenry will get a chance to catch up this week as New Orleans hosts Colorado's Triple-A affiliate, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, for a four-game series. Haines is in his first year as the skipper in New Orleans after working his way up through the Marlins system for the past five years. McKenry has hit .273 in 33 at-bats for the Sky Sox so far this season.

MORE RAIDER REUNIONS

A pair of former Blue Raider teammates squared off in a Carolina League showdown over the weekend, with Will Skinner's Lynchburg Hillcats hosting Justin Miller's Potomac Nationals.

Skinner has two home runs and eight RBI so far in 2014 for Atlanta's affiliate, after hitting 16 homers in just 71 games a year ago in Lynchburg. Miller has three doubles and two RBI in 28 at-bats for Washington's affiliate this year.

OCEAN STATE OF MIND

The International League series this weekend between Buffalo and Pawtucket featured a pair of former Blue Raiders in the Bisons' Brett Carroll and the host Paw Sox' Bryce Brentz.

Brentz has played in 17 of 18 games through April 19 to start a campaign that has included a highlight-reel catch in the Paw Sox' home opener. The Pawtucket outfielder, who is on Boston's 40-man roster, has hit .296 with four RBI over his last seven games.

Carroll has played in eight games on the year for the Bisons, the Triple-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays. He has appeared in left field, right field, as the designated hitter and as a pinch-runner.

ROBERTS PROVIDES RELIEF FOR TULSA

Left-hander Kenneth Roberts has been an effective part of the bullpen for Colorado's AA affiliate in Tulsa in the early stages of 2014. Roberts has appeared in six games out of the Drillers 'pen, recording a 3.86 ERA in 7.0 innings, while surrendering just one walk.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN WAY

McKenry and Roberts are two of four former Blue Raiders currently in the Colorado Rockies system. Pitchers Coty Woods and Daniel Palo are also in the organization, with Woods currently on the disabled list and Palo in extended spring training.

GOING TO CALIFORNIA

Hunter Adkins begins his first full season of professional baseball this spring with the Stockton Ports, the California League affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. Adkins struck out three batters in his first appearance of the year on Thursday.

The move to Stockton, a city just south of Sacramento in northern California, has sent Adkins cross-country once again. Adkins began his professional career with eight appearances for the Athletics' Arizona League affiliate last year before going to Burlington, Vt., and Oakland's New York-Penn League affiliate, the Vermont Lake Monsters. The native of Signal Mountain, Tenn. now returns to the West Coast for 2014.

OWENS CONTINUES CAREER AS PLAYER-COACH

Jeremy Owens begins his 17th year of professional baseball, and his fifth as a player-coach, when the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the Atlantic League begin their season April 24.

Owens, the team's all-time leader in games played, home runs, extra-base hits, runs scored, stolen bases and walks, is the first player-coach in franchise history. The Blue Crabs play in the eight-team Atlantic League, which features teams in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Texas.

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