July 13, 2002

Former Notre Dame righthander Aaron Heilman (Logansport, Ind.) fittingly made his triple-A debut in his home state, with the former four-year All-American tossing eight shutout innings in an impressive outing on Saturday night as the Norfolk (Va.) Tides posted a 4-0 win over the Indianapolis Indians.

Pitching just 70 miles from his hometown, Heilman needed ony 89 pitches (locating 62 of them for strikes) while holding the Indians to three hits and no walks, with three strikeouts. In five of the innings, he retired the side in 10 or fewer pitches.

Heilman – the 2000 first-round draft pick of the New York Mets – is one of four former Notre Dame pitchers currently playing on the triple-A level (and 14 total in pro baseball), after posting a 3.82 ERA and 4-4 record in 17 starts with the double-A Binghamton (N.Y.) Mets. Heilman also totaled 61 strikeouts, 17 walks, 85 hits allowed (7 home runs), 6 hit batters and 5 wild pitches in 96.2 innings with Binghamton.

Notre Dame’s other players currently on the triple-A level include lefthander and 1993 graduate Chris Michalak (Pawtucket Red Sox) and righthanders Tim Kalita (Toledo Mud Hens, played at ND from ’97’-99) and Brad Lidge (New Orleans Zephrys, at ND from ’96-’98)- with Michalak (Texas Rangers) and Lidge (Houston Astros) both making Major League stints earlier this season. Ten other former Irish players remain active in professional baseball (see below), including Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman Craig Counsell.

Fans wishing to see Heilman pitch could do so at several remaining home game in Norfolk. The Tides also have road games remaining vs. the Louisville Bats (July 23-24), the Columbus Clippers (July 25-26), the Toledo Mud Hens (July 27-28), the Richmond Braves (Aug. 5-6, 18-19 and Sept. 1), the Charlotte Knights (Aug. 9-12, 29-30) and the Durham Bulls (Aug. 13-14, 27-28).

Heilman remains one of just 18 all-time Notre Dame student-athletes – and one of just five from a team-oriented sport – to be a four-year All-American. He is ranked among the all-time leaders in 15 of 16 career categories in the ND baseball record book (no other pitcher is listed more than 10 times), ranking no lower than fifth in any of those statistical areas. Notre Dame’s all-time leader in wins (43-7), strikeouts (425), innings (393.2) and double-digit strikeout games (7), Heilman also ranks second on the ND lists for career ERA (2.49, best since ’61), saves (12), complete games (26, best since 1900), appearances (83) and K-to-walk ratio (3.66). His .860 career winning pct. (43-7) ranks third in the ND record book while he also ranks fourth in shutouts (6), starts (44), consecutive wins (15) and strikeout ratio (9.72 per 9 IP) – plus fifth in fewest hits allowed per 9 IP (6.74).

He was one of just six consensus 2001 first team All-Americans and a national player of the year finalist in that senior season, after going 15-0 with a 1.74 ERA, 111 Ks, 31 walks and 70 hits allowed in 114 innings.

Here’s a complete list of the 14 Notre Dame players currently in pro baseball, with their updated stats (as of June 12):

C Mike Amrhein (’94-’97) – West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx of the double-A Southern League (.305 batting avg., 61 GP, 26 R, 5 HR, 2 3B, 13 2B, 30 RBI, 7 HP, 18 BB, 24 Ks, 4 SB, 9 E)

DH/OF Matt Bok (’00-’02) – signed as free agent with Los Angeles Dodgers and reported to the rookie-level Great Falls (Mont.) Dodgers (yet to play, as of June 12)

3B/C Andrew Bushey (’99-02) – Tri-City Dust Devils of the single-A Northwest League (.125, 14 GP, 3 R, 2B, 3 RBI, 2 SAC, 3 BB, 5 Ks, SB, 7 starts at 3B/6 at C, 4 E)

RHP John Corbin (’97-’00) – Daytona Cubs of the single-A Florida State League (7.31, 0-2, 5 GP/2 GS, 16 IP, 25 H (2 HR), 14 Ks/8 BB, HB, 2 WP)

3B Craig Counsell (’89-’92) – Arizona Diamondbacks (.283, 88 GP, 48 R, HR, 3B, 18 2B, 46 RBI, 35 BB, 42 Ks, .971 overall fielding pct. with 7 E, also playing some at 2B and SS)

RHP Aaron Heilman (’98-’01) – Norfolk Tides of triple-A International League, after being promoted from Binghamton Mets (3.82, 404, 17 GS, 96.2 IP, 85 H (7 HR), 97 Ks/28 BB, 6 HB, 5 WP)

LHP Tim Kalita (’97-99) – Toledo Mud Hens of triple-A International League (4.93, 1-9, 15 GS, 87.2 IP, 93 H (10 HR), 47 Ks/22 BB, 3 HB, 4 WP)

RHP Brad Lidge (’96-’98) – currently pitching with the New Orleans Zephyrs of the triple-A Pacific Coast League (4.24, 2-3, 14 GP/9 GS, 51 IP, 39 H (3 HR), 50 Ks/31 BB, 3 HB. 4 WP) … opened season with double-A Round Rock Express before short stint with the Houston Astros, who selected him with the 17th overall pick of the 1998 MLB draft

LHP Chris Michalak (’90-’93) – currently pitching with the Pawtucket Red Sox of the triple-A International League (6.87, 1-4, 7 GP/6 GS, 36.2 IP, 49 H (8 HR), 21 Ks/10 BB, 3 HB, 2 WP) … opened season in triple-A Oklahoma City before being called up to the Texas Rangers … also has pitched in the Major Leagues with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Toronto Blue Jays

C/3B Paul O’Toole (’99-’02) – currently joining the Lansing Lugnets of the double-A Midwest League … opened with rookie-level Mesa Cubs (4-for-9, 3 GP, 2 R, 2B, RBI, 3 BB, K) before playing two games at third base with the Boise Hawks in the single-A Northwest League (0-for-7, RBI, SF, K, E)

RHP Christian Parker (’95-’96) – out indefinitely on a rehab. assignment, after making his Major League debut with the New York Yankees in 2001

CF Steve Stanley (’99-’02) – Modesto A’s of the high-A California League (.229, 17 GP, 5 R, 3 RBI, 3 SAC, HP, 12 BB, 16 Ks, 1-4 SB, 1 E)

RHP Danny Tamayo (’98-’01) – Wilmington (Del.) Blue Rocks of the single-A Carolina League (2.86, 5-4, 13 GP/10 GS, 63 IP, 71 H (4 HR), 61 Ks/17 BB, HB, 2 WP)

IF Brant Ust (’97-’99) – currently playing for the Lakeland Tigers in single-A Florida State League (.167, 20 GP, 8 R, HR, 3 2B, 7 RBI, 2 HP, 7 BB, 17 Ks, 2-2 SB) … opened season with double-A Erie Sea Wolves