March 27, 2000
Notre Dame junior righthander Aaron Heilman (Logansport, Ind.) has been named the BIG EAST Conference baseball pitcher of the week for the second time in the 2000 season and the sixth time in his career, after recording eight and two-thirds shutout innings in two appearances during the week of March 20-26.
Heilman tossed 1.2 innings of relief in the March 22 win over Detroit (10-3), allowing one hit while striking out three Titans batters. He then registered a one-hitter in the 4-0 win at Villanova on March 25 (in the seven-inning opener), allowing a bloop single in the third inning from Brendan Mannix that tipped off the glove of charging sophomore centerfielder Steve Stanley. Heilman’s 87-pitch effort in that game included five strikeouts, eight groundouts and two walks. He faced just one batter over the minimum (22)-thanks to a successful pickoff move and a double-play ball-and the only VU batter to reach second base came in the seventh inning, with the Irish conceding the base after a walk to Dave Pizzini.
For the week, Heilman faced 28 batters (two over the minimum for 8.2 IP), with eight strikeouts, two walks and two hits allowed.
Notre Dame is the only school to produce three BIG EAST pitcher-of-the-week award winners this season (senior Scott Cavey earned the honor on Feb. 28) and the Irish have totaled four player and pitcher awards in 2000, second only to Rutgers’ five (Irish sophomore catcher Paul O’Toole was the March 13 player of the week). Heilman joins Rutgers’ Jim Wilson (Feb. 28, March 20) as the only BIG EAST players to earn multiple player or pitcher awards this season.
The Irish have produced at least one BIG EAST award winner in four of the last five weeks.
The solo shutout at Villanova was the second of Heilman’s career (in 20 starts), with the other coming vs. VU-at the same site, Richie Ashburn Field in downtown Philadelphia-in 1999 by the same 4-0 score (5 H, 8 Ks in that game). Saturday’s win marked his ninth career complete game and third of the 2000 season.
Heilman has dropped his season ERA to 1.55 (seven earned runs in 40.2 IP)-which would rank eighth all-time at Notre Dame and best since David Sinnes’ 1.05 in 1990. Heilman’s other 2000 totals include 45 Ks, 7 BB and 27 hits allowed. His .190 opponent batting average would rank second-best by an Irish pitcher since the statistic was first recorded in 19991 (Sinnes allowed .163 in ’92).
His career ERA has dropped to 2.37 (57 ER in 216.2 IP), just shy of the Notre Dame record held by Nick Palihnich (2.36, ’59-’61). Heilman remains on pace to challenge the Irish career strikeout record, currently ranking fifth with 241, behind: 32-game winner Sinnes (315, ’90-’93), 40-game winner and lefty Tom Price (276, ’91-’94), former teammate and 25-game winner Alex Shilliday (265, ’96-’99) and 34-game winner and lefty Chris Michalak (263, ’90-’93). Heilman is averaging 10.01 Ks and just 3.03 walks per nine inning pitched during his career.
Heilman’s s last five appearance (four starts) have yielded four wins and just two earned runs in 33.2 innings of work, for an 0.54 ERA in that stretch, plus 39 Ks, 5 BB and 16 H.
His 22-6 career record puts him into a tie for ninth in Irish history for career wins while his .786 career winning pct. ranks seventh all-time at Notre Dame. Heilman has not allowed an earned run in four career appearances vs. VU (17.2 IP), with 18 Ks, 2 BB and 10 H (plus a 2-0 record and one save).
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).