April 25, 2000
The Notre Dame baseball team picked up two more weekly awards from the BIG EAST Conference, as freshman rightfielder Brian Stavisky (Port Allegany, Pa.) was named the league player of the week while senior righthander Scott Cavey (Omaha, Neb.) was tabbed as co-pitcher of the week-following a string a six wins and no losses for the Irish during the April 17-23 period.
Stavisky-the first BIG EAST freshman to earn a player or pitcher-of-the-week award this season-led the Irish during the week with a .455 batting average (10-for-22). He also paced the team during the week with 10 hits, eight RBI, seven runs, three home runs and 25 total bases, plus two triples, two walks, just two strikeouts, a 1.136 slugging pct. and a .500 on-base pct. The 6-5, 230-pound lefthander extended hit hitting streak to nine games while boosting his season batting average to .300-his highest mark since March 26.
Cavey earned his second BIG EAST pitcher award of the season, after tossing six shutout innings in the 5-1 win at Georgetown on April 22. The lanky senior allowed four hits and no walks while posing four strikeouts and five groundouts. He did not allow a GU leadoff batter to reach base.
Notre Dame has compiled eight BIG EAST weekly awards in 2000 (second only to Rutgers’ 10), with junior righthander Aaron Heilman picking up the pitcher award three times (March 6, March 27, April 17), sophomore catcher Paul O’Toole earning the March 13 player award and righthander J.P. Gagne picking up the April 10 rookie award (Cavey earlier had earned the Feb. 28 pitcher award).
Notre Dame has matched Rutgers by producing five different players that have earned a weekly BIG EAST award in the 2000 season while the Irish are the runaway leader with five total pitcher-of-the-week awards (Rutgers and Seton Hall are next, with two each). Notre Dame has produced at least one award winner in seven of nine weeks this season and is one of four schools to produced the player and pitcher award winners in the same week (Rutgers has done it twice).
Rutgers and Notre Dame have dominated the BIG EAST weekly awards during the 2000 season-combining for exactly half of the 36 awards, followed by Seton Hall and Villanova (4each), Boston College (3), Connecticut and Georgetown (2 each) and Pittsburgh, St. John’s and West Virginia (1 each).
IRISH VAULT TO NATIONAL ERA LEAD
* Following games played on April 23, the Irish headed into the Western Michigan game with the nation’s top team ERA (2.72), closely followed by Louisiana-Lafayette at 2.74 … no other teams own team ERA under 3.00, with the next teams on the list including Nebraska (3.12), South Carolina (3.12), Florida State (3.14), Rutgers (3.15), Clemson (3.29), Stanford (3.35), Texas (3.38) and Louisiana-Monroe (3.42).
* The Irish pitchers allowed just eight earned runs in six games last week, with three of those earned runs given up by junior All-American Aaron Heilman … the Irish finished the 1998 season ranked 12th in the nation with a 4.02 ERA … ND posted a 5.15 ERA in ’99, with all 13 current ND pitchers entering this week with a 2000 ERA that is lower than that number (10 of the 13 are under 3.00).
* Sixth-year ND pitching coach Brian O’Connor-who pitched in the CWS while at Creighton-deserves much of the credit for the ND pitching staff’s rise to the national ERA lead, as the 13-member staff includes four freshmen, two sophomores, a junior who missed most of ’98 and all of ’99 before undergoing “Tommy John” surgery and a senior who did not pitch in ’99 while preparing for his medical school tests … just three of the nine veteran pitchers had logged 50-plus career innings prior to the 2000 season: junior Aaron Heilman (176), senior Scott Cavey (94.1) and senior John Corbin (66.1) … the Irish lost three of their top pitchers from the ’99 staff: senior RHP Alex Shilliday (career stats of 65 GP, 290 IP, 25-17, 4.41, 265 Ks), senior LHP Chris McKeown (53 GP, 182.1 IP, 13-7, 3.85, 153 Ks) and junior LHP Tim Kalita (47 GP, 214 IP, 11-3, 4.00, 214 KS), with that threesome combining for 165 career appearances, 687 innings, a 49-27 record and 664 Ks.
* In the individual NCAA statistics, Heilman ranks 33rd with a 2.33 season ERA while Corbin is tied for 12th in saves, with 10 … Notre Dame enters the week with the nation’s fourth-best winning percentage (32-9, .780).
* The 2.72 team ERA would rank 4th in ND history and best since 1959 (the record of 2.60 was set in the 1957 CWS season and equaled in ’60) … equally as impressive, the ND pitchers have nearly a 3-to-1 K-to-walk ratio (2.92, 295/101), which would blow away the team record of 2.40 (set in ’63) … the staff’s 2.62 BB/9 IP (101/347) also is on pace for a team record (2.82 in ’94) … the .249 opponent batting avg. is best by an ND staff since the vaunted ’92 staff (.239) … the Irish have allowed just 11 home runs (0.27/gm), the 4th-best ratio in team history and lowest since 1990 (0.26) … the ND defense also is on a record pace for fielding pct. (.966) and has turned nearly one double play per game (35 in 41) … finally, the ND pitchers have a huge ratio in favor of groundouts (401) over flyouts (286).
* ND’s opponents in 2000 have included two of the nation’s top hitting teams (Chicago State and Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and one of the nation’s top-scoring teams (Wake Forest), plus three games vs. a potent Boston College squad and noteworthy games vs. Ohio State, Minnesota, Georgia, North Florida (the nation’s top-ranked Div. II team) and Illinois (2).
* Two of O’Connor’s former pitchers-RHP Brad Lidge (’96-’98, 17th pick in 1st round by Houston) and LHP Tim Kalita (’97-’99, 7th-round in ’99 by Detroit)-developed into high draft picks while at ND (Lidge was a 42nd-rounder out of HS, Kalita was not drafted) … current junior RHP Aaron Heilman currently is rated as high as the No. 3 prospect in college baseball, after being a 54-round pick out of HS.