Ball State alumnus Jeremy Hazelbaker to make first MLB start

<p><em>PHOTO PROVIDED BY BALL STATE ATHLETICS</em></p>

PHOTO PROVIDED BY BALL STATE ATHLETICS

Jeremy Hazelbaker - Career minor league statistics

Games - 751

Batting average - .264

On-base percentage - .341

Home runs - 81

Runs batted in - 359

Stolen bases - 239

Days after learning he made the St. Louis Cardinals' opening day roster, Ball State alumnus Jeremy Hazelbaker is preparing to make his first Major League start.

Hazelbaker will bat eighth and play center field tonight as the Cardinals look to avoid a road sweep against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The 29-year-old Hazelbaker has spent most of his career at various levels in the minor leagues, but injuries to Cardinals' infielders Jhonny Peralta and Ruben Tejada opened up a roster spot. He's a career .264 hitter in the minors.

Hazelbaker is 1-2 at the plate through two games this season. His first big-league hit was a ninth-inning double off Mark Melancon in a 6-5 loss to the Pirates on April 6.

At Ball State, Hazelbaker hit .316 with a .419 OBP and a .509 career slugging percentage. He was selected in the fourth round of the MLB Draft by the Boston Red Sox in 2009.

Hazelbaker will look to build on his first career hit when the Cardinals and Pirates face off at 7:05 p.m. at PNC Park In Pittsburgh, Pa. 

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