March 31, 2001
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Senior righthanders Aaron Heilman and Danny Tamayo lived up to their billing as the BIG EAST Conference’s top-ranked pitchers while No. 3 hitter Alec Porzel and cleanup batter Brian Stavisky turned in their best combined performances of the season, as 13th-ranked Notre Dame swept a doubleheader from visiting Seton Hall, 6-0 and 6-1, in BIG EAST action Saturday at Eck Stadium.
Notre Dame (20-4-1, 4-2 BIG EAST) has reached the 20-win plateau faster than any of the program’s previous 92 teams, dating back to the 20-1 start by the 1908 squad.
Heilman (7-0)-who has won 17 of his last 18 decisions-moved into second place on the Irish career victories chart (35-7), after scattering four hits, two walks, six strikeouts and 10 groundball outs in the seven-inning opener. He posted his 17th career complete game (fourth in 2001) and the sixth solo shutout of his career (three in 2001), one shy of the Irish record with six weeks of the regular season still remaining.
Tamayo (4-1) likewise tossed seven shutout innings before yielding a run in the eighth of his 7.2-inning stint. He equaled his career high with 10 strikeouts while walking no SHU batters (matching his totals in both categories from last week’s 3-0 win at Pittsburgh), with eight hits allowed.
Notre Dame’s eye-popping team ERA now sits at 2.50, with Heilman (1.17) and Tamayo (1.64) combining for a 1.39 ERA, plus 101 strikeouts and just 19 walks in 103.1 innings, with a .183 combined opponent batting average. Tamayo now sports nearly a 9-to-1 season strikeout-to-walk ratio (52/6, 30/1 in his last three starts) while opposing batters are hitting just .174 versus Heilman.
The Irish pitching staff has logged 64 shutout innings in the last nine games (74 innings), with a 1.85 team ERA during that nine-game stretch.
Porzel-who entered the day with just a .196 season batting average-continued his recent surge by batting 5-for-7 in the doubleheader, with three RBI and three runs scored. He doubled twice in the nightcap, giving him 11 for the season and 61 in his career (tying the Irish record set by 1993 graduate Eric Danapilis).
Stavisky backed up Porzel’s strong day by hitting 3-for-6 (all doubles), with three RBI and a run scored.
Notre Dame opened the day with one of its most productive early-inning spurts of the season, plating two runs in the first inning and four more in the second versus SHU ace righthander B.J. Benik (2-3). Sophomore leftfielder Kris Billmaier provided the two-out, two-run single in the first Irish at-bat.
SHU third baseman Joe Scott then made a costly error in the second inning, with his errant throw on Steve Sollmann’s sacrifice bunt eventually leading to three unearned runs. The Irish stretched to a 4-0 lead with a pair of groundout RBIs, with Porzel and Stavisky then capping the inning with RBI singles.
Notre Dame posted single runs in four innings of the nightcap versus sophomore righthander Chris Reilly (4-1) before stretching to a 6-0 lead on Porzel’s RBI single and Stavisky’s run-producing double in the seventh (Stavisky’s coming as the first batter faced by freshman righthander Bryan Haggerty).
SETON HALL 0-0-0 0-0-0 0 – 0 4 1
NOTRE DAME 2-4-0 0-0-0 0 – 6 8 1
B.J. Benik (L, 2-3), Jeff Barrow (3) and Adam Arslanian.
Aaron Heilman (7-0) and Paul O’Toole.
Doubles: Brian Stavisky (ND), Adam Arslanian (SHU).
SETON HALL (12-12, 5-4 BIG EAST) 0-0-0 0-0-0 0-1-0 – 1 10 1
NOTRE DAME (20-4-1, 4-2 BIG EAST) 0-1-1 1-1-0 2-0-X – 6 10 1
Chris Reilly (L, 2-1), Bryan Haggerty (7) and Adam Arslanian.
Danny Tamayo (W, 4-1), Matt Laird (8) and Paul O’Toole.
Triple: Andrew Bushey (ND).
Doubles: Paul O’Toole (ND), Alec Porzel 2 (ND), Brian Stavisky 2 (ND), Joe Thaman, Joe Cuervo (SHU), Brian Leighton (SHU), Todd Crawford (SHU).