Feb. 9, 2001
The Notre Dame baseball team has announced its captains for the 2001 season, with senior righthander Aaron Heilman (Logansport, Ind.) entering his second season as an Irish captain while senior shortstop Alec Porzel (Lisle, Ill.) and junior third baseman Andrew Bushey (Boardman, Ohio) will be first-year captains in the upcoming campaign.
“These three players will provide great leadership for our team this season-both on and off the field,” said seventh-year Notre Dame head coach Paul Mainieri, whose Irish squad heads into next week’s season opener ranked as high as ninth in the country (the highest ranking in the program’s history).
“Aaron Heilman is one of the most unselfish teammates that I’ve ever coached-and that’s saying a lot when you consider that he may be the best player in all of college baseball this season. He also cares a lot about the success of this team and again will be a tremendous leader for us.
“Alec Porzel is one of the most clutch performers in all of college baseball and will do a great job leading this team through his everyday production. And Andy Bushey is one of those kids who is a great role model in the way he plays the game, giving maximum effort all the time. It’s a rare honor to be a captain as a junior and Bushey is more than deserving of that type of responsibility.”
Other recent juniors to serve as Notre Dame baseball captains include Heilman, shortstop Brant Ust (’99), catcher Bob Lisanti (’94) and first baseman Joe Binkiewicz (’91).
|Senior righthander Aaron Heilman|
Irish prospects for the 2001 season were boosted by the return of the three-time All-American Heilman, who elected to return for his senior season rather than signing the Minnesota Twins after being selected with the 31st overall pick in the Major League Draft. Heilman was one of three pitchers named a 20001 first-team preseason All-American by both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball magazine and he was listed by BA as college baseball’s No. 7-ranked prospect in college baseball.
Heilman was named the BIG EAST pitcher of the year in 2000, after posting a 10-2 record, 3.21 ERA, 118 strikeouts and just 29 walks in 103.2 innings pitched. The 6-5, 225-pound righthander’s career numbers at Notre Dame include a 28-7 record, 14 saves, a 2.80 ERA and 314 strikeouts (one shy of tying the Irish record) in 280 innings pitched.
|Senior shortstop Alec Porzel|
Porzel-named by Collegiate Baseball as the 2001 preseason BIG EAST Conference player of the year-heads into 2001 on the verge of becoming the first Notre Dame player ever to reach 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in his career (29, 26) and he could challenge Notre Dame career records in as many as six categories, including RBI, hits and doubles.
Porzel was named a second team all-BIG EAST shortstop in 2000, after ranking as the BIG EAST’s best all-around hitter. His stats in 2000 BIG EAST regular-season games included the league’s sixth-best batting average (.375), plus league-leading totals for RBI (27) and doubles (11). Porzel’s overall season totals in 2000 included team-best totals in RBI (58) and doubles (24), plus nine home runs and a .342 batting average.
Bushey is a third-year starter at third base and also will back up classmate Paul O’Toole at catcher. Judged to be the best defensive third baseman in the 2001 BIG EAST Conference (according to Baseball America magazine), the lefthanded-hitting Bushey could be due for a breakthrough offensive season after batting .271 with five home runs and 40 RBI during his first two years with the Irish.
Bushey turned his game up a notch during 1999 and 2000 NCAA Tournament play, batting 9-for-25 (.360) in those eight games.