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Heilman Earns Seventh Career BIG EAST Pitcher Of The Week Award

April 18, 2000

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame junior righthander Aaron Heilman (Logansport, Ind.) has been named the BIG EAST Conference baseball pitcher of the week for the third time in the 2000 season and the seventh time in his career, after turning in an historic 18-strikeout game in the 10-inning win at West Virginia on April 15. Collegiate Baseball magazine also named Heilman as one of the three Louisville Slugger national players of the week, making Heilman one of just two players in the nation to receive that honor twice this season.

In another noteworthy release from a national publication, Baseball America magazine has upgraded Heilman to the No. 3-rated prospect in college baseball, based on reports filed in early April (prior to Heilman’s outing at WVU). Heilman entered the 2000 season as the No. 9-rated prospect in college baseball, according to BA’s annual survey of major league scouting directors.

Heilman-who is the only BIG EAST player ever to receive more than four weekly BIG EAST pitcher-of-the-week awards during his career-tied a BIG EAST Conference record and came just shy of the Irish record with his 18-strikeout game at WVU, lifting Notre Dame to a 3-1 victory in a game that originally was scheduled for seven innings.

The Irish have compiled six BIG EAST weekly awards in 2000 (second only to Rutgers’ eight), with senior righthander Scott Cavey earning the Feb. 28 pitcher award, sophomore catcher Paul O’Toole earning the March 13 player award and righthander J.P. Gagne earning the April 10 rookie award.

NOTES FROM THE WVU GAME: Heilman–whose previous career best was 12 Ks, earlier this season vs. Georgia–seemingly became stronger as the game wore on, spotting his patented tough slider with regularity in the closing innings while delivering a sinking fastball that still touched 91 mph in the lategoing. … he retired 15 straight batters from the 5th-10th innings and struck out 10 of the final 12 batters he faced, including seven straight before yielding a single by Todd Cisneros with two outs in the 10th … but Kevin Olkowski-who had two of WVU’s six hits-went down swinging on three straight pitches to end the game … Heilman’s 18 Ks tied the BIG EAST record set by Seton Hall’s Jason Grilli in a 7-2 win over UConn in ’97 (Grilli went on to become the fourth pick in the 1st round of the ’97 amateur draft, by the S.F. Giants) … Frank Carpin is the only other ND pitcher ever to record 18-plus Ks in a game, with 19 in a 10-inning win over Indiana on April 16, 1958 (12-10) … one mark that did fall was the Hawley Field record for Ks in a game, as former WVU pitchers Kim West (vs. Geneva, ’71) and Wes Shaw (vs. Fairmont State, ’89) had shared that record with 16-K games … Heilman’s memorable day included just six hits and two walks allowed, with 11 groundball outs and just one flyout … all nine WVU starters–plus reserve Matt McGee–were strikeout victims, with Mike Frownfelter and Eddie Weightman each registering three Ks in the game (four others had two Ks each). … the Ks by inning progressed as follows: 1-3-0-2-2-0-2-2-3-3 … six of the Ks came on called third strikes while just two of the 18 came on 3-2 counts (three on 0-2, nine on 1-2, four on 2-2) … in fact, Heilman reached three-ball counts vs. just seven of the 39 batters he faced.

RECORD BOOK WATCH: Heilman owns 270 career Ks in 240 IP, pushing him past Chris Michalak (263, `90-’93) and former teammate Alex Shilliday (265, `96-’99) into 3rd on the Irish career K list, trailing only Tom Price (276, `91-’94) and David Sinnes (315, `90-’93) … Heilman has averaged 10.10 Ks per 9 IP during his career, the best ratio ever posted by an ND pitcher with 140-plus career Ks … Heilman lowered his season ERA to 2.09 and his career ERA to 2.43, 2nd-best in ND history and just shy of Nick Palihnich’s record (2.36, ’59-’61) … the complete game was Heilman’s 6th of the season and the 12th of his career while his 2000 season totals now include 74 Ks, just 12 walks and 48 hits allowed in 64.2 IP (opposing batters are hitting just .208 vs. him, 6th-best by an Irish pitcher since the stat began being kept in ’91) … Heilman pushed his season record to 7-1 while his career mark now stands at 25-6 (tied for the 7th-most wins ever by an ND pitcher) … his .807 career winning pct. ranks 5th-best in recorded ND history and is the best mark since ’24 (min. 16 decisions, with Heilman ranking as the winningest among Irish pitchers with 25-plus decisions) … his other career numbers include just 68 walks and 183 hits allowed in the 240.2 IP, with a .209 opp. batting avg. (plus 12 saves, tied for second all-time at ND) … he ranks 9th in Irish history with 61 appearances (23 of them starts) and already has cracked 10th place on the Irish career list for IP … with four or five regular-season starts still in front of him, Heilman figures to make a run at his own Irish single-season K record of 118, set in ’99 (he already has 74) … he also could join Price (14 wins in ’94, 12 in ’93) as the only Irish pitchers ever to win 12-plus games in a season … Heilman joined future Chicago Cubs World Series championship team member Ed Reulbach as the only ND pitchers ever to post 12-plus Ks in multiple games (Reulbach had 16 vs. both Indiana and Beloit during the 1904 season).

NATIONAL PLAYER-OF-THE-WEEK NOTES: Heilman joins UCLA lefthander Rob Henkel (March 13, March 27) as the only players to receive multiple national player-of-the-week honors from Collegiate Baseball this season (Heilman also earned the honor after his 12-K game vs. Georgia, on March 5) … the other two players honored by CB this week include Baylor RHP Kyle Evans (no-hitter in 4-0 win over Iowa State, 5 Ks, 2 BB, 27 BF) and Marietta C Jay Coakley (7 HRs, 21 RBI, 11 R, 2 2B in 6 games).

BASEBALL AMERICA UPDATED DRAFT FORECAST: ” … The best attribute among other top pitching prospects has been consistency. No scouting director with a pick among the first 10 in the draft will come out and say, ‘Id love to get a shot at Justin Wayne or Aaron Heilman or Beau Hale,’ but most acknowledge that all three would be on a short list. … Wayne has compiled a 22-2 record in three years at Stanford and has been unhittable at times this spring. His stuff is solid across the board and he pitches with maturity and purpose. … Heilman had limited opportunity to impress scouts because of Notre Dame’s early schedule, but his 93 mph sinking fastball is one of the most effective pitches in college baseball. … Hale throws harder than either Wayne or Heilman, consistently touching 94-95 mph, but he doesn’t have the secondary pitches or movement on his fastball of the other two. … “

Top 25 College Prospects: 1. Ben Diggins, rhp/1b, Arizona , 2. Justin Wayne, rhp, Stanford, 3. Aaron Heilman, rhp, Notre Dame, 4. Dane Sardinha, c, Pepperdine, 5. Tyrell Godwin, of, North Carolina, 6. Xavier Nady, 3b, California, 7. Beau Hale, rhp, Texas, 8. Daylan Holt, of, Texas A&M, 9. Joe Borchard, of, Stanford, 10. Chris Bootcheck, rhp, Auburn, 11. Patrick Boyd, of, Clemson, 12. Taggert Bozied, 1b, San Francisco, 13. Jason Young, rhp, Stanford, 14. Rob Henkel, lhp, UCLA, 15. Adam Johnson, rhp, CS Fullerton, 16. Chase Utley, 2b, UCLA, 17. Chad Qualls, rhp, Nevada , 18. Tim Hummel, ss, Old Dominion, 19. Mike Tonis, c, California, 20. Eric Henderson, lhp, North Carolina, 21. Lance Niekro, 3b, Florida Southern, 22. Tommy Murphy, ss, Florida Atlantic, 23. Aaron Krawiec, lhp, Villanova, 24. Bill Traber, lhp, Loyola Marymount, 25. Cory Vance, lhp, Georgia Tech.

2000 Draft Order (June 5-7): 1. Florida, 2. Minnesota, 3. Chicago Cubs, 4. Kansas City, 5. Montreal, 6. Tampa Bay, 7. Colorado, 8. Detroit, 9. San Diego, 10. California, 11. Milwaukee, 12. Chicago White Sox, 13. St. Louis, 14. Baltimore, 15. Philadelphia, 16. N.Y. Mets, 17. Los Angeles, 18. Toronto, 19. Pittsburgh, 20. California, 21. San Francisco, 22. Boston, 23. Cincinnati, 24. St. Louis, 25. Texas, 26. Cleveland, 27. Houston, 28. N.Y. Yankees, 29. Atlanta.