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Naval Academy graduate makes Cardinals debut, strikes out first batter he faces

When Mitch Harris took the mound for the Cardinals in the fifth inning of their matchup against the Brewers on Saturday, he was about to do something that hadn't been done since 1921: throw an MLB pitch as a graduate of the United States Naval Academy.

The 29-year-old replaced Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright, who left the game after sustaining an injury batting in the top of the fifth inning. He promptly made his presence known, striking out the first batter he faced.

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Harris began the season in Triple-A and has been in the Cards' system since 2013. Before that, he was traversing the world's oceans with the Navy. He's the first Naval Academy graduate to make it to the Major Leagues since Nemo Gaines nearly a century ago. But he doesn't expect a leg up:

"I don't want to be put in position because of my story. If something's just going to be given to me, I don't want it. I want to be able to say I earned every step of the way," Harris told MLB.com's Spencer Fordin last season.

Harris reflected on his debut with MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch:  

"It means a lot. That place was special to me. The Navy was special to me. To be able to represent them and bring light to them means the world to me."

Harris pitched 1 1/3 innings on Saturday, giving up two hits, two walks and recording one strikeout. Not too shabby for an MLB debut.