May 11, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame senior designated hitter and left-handed pitcher David Mills was one of 25 players from across the country featured on the watch list for the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award. Mills and Pittsburgh junior Joe Leonard are the only players listed from the BIG EAST Conference.
The Olerud Award, which recognizes a player who makes an impact both on the mound and at the plate, will be presented in Lubbock, Texas, on July 2 as part of the College Baseball Awards Show.
“We’re very excited to present the inaugural Olerud Award this year,” said Randy Norman, Olerud Award committee co-chair. “John Olerud was a great two-way player at Washington State and we look forward to honoring a player who will carry on that legacy.”
Mills, who registered a walk-off home run in the rubber game of a three-game series with Cincinnati on April 25, is batting .321 (53-for-165) with nine doubles, two triples, two home runs and 31 RBI. He leads the conference with seven sacrifice flies. Mills has swiped a team-high eight stolen bases. Mills has also proven to be one of the top relievers out of the Irish bullpen. He is 1-1 on the year with two saves and a 3.00 earned run average. Mills has fanned 16, walked three and allowed 27 hits in 27.0 innings of work. He has appeared in 18 games, all out of the Notre Dame bullpen, and opponents are batting only .265 against him.
Mills was named to the BIG EAST honor roll on April 19 following an incredible two-way week. He did it all for Notre Dame as the Irish went 4-0, including a three-game series sweep at Seton Hall. Notre Dame had not swept the Pirates in South Orange since 2002. In fact, Seton Hall had not been swept in a BIG EAST series at home by anyone since April of 2007.
Mills not only registered two saves, and pitched in all four games, but also did not allow a run in 5.0 scoreless innings of relief. He also batted .444 (8-for-18) for the week with four runs scored and two RBI. In fact, both RBI came with two outs, including his game-winning RBI single in the top of the ninth inning in Sunday’s series finale with the Pirates to secure the sweep. In the sweep of Seton Hall, Mills hit .500 and tossed 4.2 scoreless innings of relief with a save.
Despite his prowess at the plate, Mills most critical service came on the mound. With the Irish clinging to a two-run lead over Chicago State and the tying run at the plate, the southpaw came on and retired the only batter he faced to record his first save of the season. Then, in the series opener at Seton Hall, Mills not only tossed 1.2 innings of scoreless relief to keep the game tied, 5-5, but went 3-for-5 and scored the game-winning run. The senior then went 1-for-4 with an RBI single in the 2-1 victory over the Pirates on Saturday. In the victory, Mills also registered his second save of the week. He came on with two on, two out and the tying run in scoring position, but fanned Ryan Sullivan to end the eighth. Mills then retired Seton Hall 1-2-3 in the ninth. He still managed to overshadow those performances in the series finale with the Pirates. Mills went 3-for-5 with the game-winning RBI and two runs scored. He also added 1.2 scoreless innings of relief in his third relief appearance of the weekend. The southpaw struck out two and yielded one hit.
The College Baseball Awards Show will take place on July 2 in Lubbock, Texas, as part of a nearly weeklong schedule of festivities sponsored by the College Baseball Foundation. The events also include the induction ceremony for the National College Baseball Hall of Fame.
OLERUD AWARD WATCH LIST
Jake Smith, Alabama
Brett Eibner, Arkansas
Ben Koenigsfeld, Army
Kolbrin Vitek, Ball State
Brooks Pinckard, Baylor
Tyler Pill, Cal State Fullerton
Nick Ramirez, Cal State Fullerton
Josh Conway, Coastal Carolina
Andrew Heck, Duquesne
Bo Reeder, East Tennessee State
Tom Heithoff, Evansville
Mike McGee, Florida State
Brian Johnson, Florida
Jerrud Sabourin, Indiana
Braden Kapteyn, Kentucky
Justin Robichaux, Louisiana Lafayette
Justin Guidry, Middle Tennessee State
Michael Bottoms, Morehead State
David Mills, Notre Dame
Joe Leonard, Pittsburgh
Billy Barber, Richmond
Michael Adamson, Southeast Missouri
Chad Oberacker, Tennessee Tech
Danny Hultzen, Virginia
Sam Roberts, Virginia Military
— ND —