David Hale ’11’s first game as a major-league pitcher was a night to remember. Starting for his hometown team, the Atlanta Braves, Hale threw five innings against the San Diego Padres Sept. 13, striking out nine batters — a franchise record for a debut performance — and allowing no runs. Afterward, manager Fredi Gonzalez told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the rookie’s pitches had been “electric,” but Hale quipped that he was just happy that he “didn’t throw up or trip running out there.”


David Hale '11 struck out nine batters in five innings during his first game as a major leaguer. (Photo: Dale Zanine, USA TODAY Sports)

The night ended on a sour note as Atlanta surrendered a 3-0 lead and lost 4-3. But Hale left a favorable impression that could pay off next spring when the Braves are choosing their opening-day roster.

Hale, a Marietta, Ga., native who entered with the Class of 2010, started his pro baseball career in 2009, going pro after his junior season at Princeton. He returned to complete his degree in operations research and financial engineering, writing a senior thesis that used performance statistics to decipher the causes of major arm surgeries among pro pitchers.

This season has been a banner year for Princetonians in the big leagues, as frequent Tiger of the Week readers may have noticed. Pitcher Ross Ohlendorf ’05 has posted a 4-0 record and 3.15 ERA with the Washington Nationals. San Diego Padres outfielder Will Venable ’05 has set career-bests in nearly every offensive category — and was rewarded with a two-year, $8.5 million contract extension. Venable was the first batter Hale faced last Friday. He struck out swinging but recovered to belt a single in the top of the fifth, finishing 1-for-3 in the Tiger vs. Tiger matchup.

Like many of our Tiger of the Week honorees, David Hale ’11 was nominated by a PAW reader. Do you have an idea for a future Tiger of the Week profile? Let us know.