March 6, 2001
Notre Dame senior righthander Aaron Heilman (Logansport, Ind.) has received his ninth career BIG EAST Conference pitcher-of-the-week award, after tossing the first nine-inning shutout of his career in Friday’s 3-0 win over Florida Atlantic, in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Since the BIG EAST awards began in 1985, Heilman is the only individual to amass more than four player or pitcher-of-the-week awards in his career (including one in 1998, three in 1999 and four in 2000).
With plenty of professional scouts in attendance for last week’s swing through spring training territory-and with Florida Atlantic ace Petersen Benjamin going for the Blue Wave-Heilman fashioned the March 1 shutout in often dominating fashion (he owns three previous seven-inning shutouts), blanking FAU at Florida Power Park during the Devil Rays College Invitational.
Heilman scattered five hits and one walk over the nine innings while striking out nine batters in his economical 110-pitch outing, versus a Blue Wave offense that already had posted wins this season over the Miami Hurricanes and Oklahoma State. He faced just five batters over the minimum (32), thanks to a double play in the fifth inning and an earlier rundown play (FAU’s seventh baserunner reached on an error).
After working out of a fifth-inning jam (runners on 1st and 2nd, no outs, followed by the double-play ball and a popup), the 6-5, 225-pounder retired 13 of the next 14 batters before second baseman Steve Sollmann’s fielding error with two outs in the ninth (the next batter recorded the fifth hit off Heilman, who then ended the game with his ninth K).
Heilman kept his pitches down in the zone for most of the day, as just six balls left the infield. His 27 outs included the nine Ks, 11 groundball outs (two on a double play) and just two flyouts, plus two infield popups, two infield lineouts and the rundown play (one of FAU’s five hits was an infield single).
* Heilman has posted nine-plus Ks in 10 career outing and has averaged at least one K per inning pitched in 48 of his 71 career appearances.
* Heilman’s 2001 season totals now include an 0.86 ERA, 23 Ks, four walks and seven hits allowed in 21 innings (.179 opp. batting avg.). He lowered his career ERA to 2.66, narrowly trailing Phil Donnely (2.65, ’61-’63) for fourth-best in Irish history.
* With a 31-7 record, Heilman now sits alone in fourth place on the Irish list for career wins, just behind 1993 graduate David Sinnes (32-8), while his .816 career winning pct. remains best by an Irish pitcher in 77 years and fifth all-time (just behind Bill Heyl’s .818/18-4, from 1909-11). He ranks first in Irish history for career Ks (337) and Ks per nine innings (10.09).
* Heilman was named BIG EAST pitcher of the week once during his All-America freshman season (April 6, 1998) before earning three BIG EAST weekly awards during his second All-America campaign (March 15, March 22 and April 12 of 1999). He then recorded an unprecedented four weekly BIG EAST awards during his All-America 2000 season (March 6, March 27, April 17, May 8)-in addition to earning national pitcher-of-the-week honors from Collegiate Baseball magazine on March 6 and April 17 of 2000.