July 3, 1998
Notre Dame freshman righthander Aaron Heilman (Logansport, Ind.) officially was named the NCAA Division I leader for 1998 earned run average, as announced by the NCAA in late June. Heilman finished with a 1.61 ERA over 67 innings (12 earned runs) to edge out Eastern Illinois’ Bobby Castelli (1.65). Heilman had entered the postseason ranked second in the nation behind Florida’s Josh Fogg, who saw his ERA rise to 2.03 after the SEC Tournament and NCAA tournament play.
The Irish were one of seven schools to place multiple players on the final top-60 Division I ERA list and one of four to place two pitchers among the top 29, as sophomore lefthander Tim Kalita (Oak Park, Ill.) finished tied for 26th with a 2.78 ERA over 74.1 innings (23 earned runs).
As a team, Notre Dame finished 12th with a 4.02 staff ERA through 58 games, just behind Western Carolina’s 4.01. The Irish bounced back from a rough three-game series at the University of Miami (54 earned runs in 24 innings), posting a 3.21 ERA when excluding the Miami series. St. Francis (N.Y.) led the nation with a 3.46 team ERA.
Notre Dame also finished with the nation’s 21st-highest winning percentage (.707), using a 23-1 midseason run to finish with a final record of 41-17.
The other schools that produced two players in the top-29 ERA leaders included BIG EAST rival St. John’s (6th and 15th), South Alabama (8th, 17th) and St. Francis (22nd, 25th). Other teams with multiple ERA leaders were Northwestern State (7th, 30th and 37th), Tulane (26th, 55th) and LeMoyne (38th, 52nd).
Heilman, who also tied for 14th in the nation with nine saves, is the fourth Notre Dame player to lead the NCAA in a season statistic (some NCAA stat tracking began in 1957, while other categories have been added periodically). Shaun Fitzmaurice led the nation in triples per game, averaging 0.34 in 1964 (10 overall). Dan Peltier tied for the NCAA lead in doubles during 1989 (32) while Scott Sollmann paced the NCAA with 11 triples in 1995. It was incorrectly reported in earlier press releases that Notre Dame’s David Sinnes led the NCAA in 1990 with a 1.05 ERA, when in fact he finished closely behind Philip Stidham of Arkansas (0.95).
Peltier’s 32 doubles are tied for eighth on the NCAA all-time single season list while Fitzmaurice’s 0.34 triples per game remain eighth in NCAA history. As a team, Notre Dame led the NCAA in triples for the 1994 season (41).
Heilman will be presented with a formal plague by the NCAA and joins a list of former NCAA season ERA leaders that includes current major leaguers Pete Harnisch (1.25, 1985, Fordham) and Seth Greisinger (1.76, 1996, Virginia). Heilman’s 1.61 ERA is lowest by a Division I pitcher since Florida International’s Joseph Burns posted an NCAA-best 1.20 in 1995.
NOTES: Two St. John’s pitchers joined Heilman and Kalita among the nation’s top-30 ERA leaders: Kevin McGerrry (6th, 2.06) and Keith Stamler (15th, 2.47). Other Notre Dame opponents among the top-60 ERA leaders: Florida State’s Nick Stocks (10th, 2.35),Valparaiso’s Joe Lazewski (11th, 2.43), Central Michigan’s Lee Gardner (12th, 2.45), Miami’s Alex Santos (18th, 2.54), Ball State’s Jeff Urban (28th, 2.79), Duke Stephen Cowie (2.85), Western Michigan’s John Stewart (33rd, 2.85) and Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Josh Justman (49th, 3.05).
Miami’s Robbie Morrison joined Heilman among the top-20 save leaders, tying for fourth with 12. Three opposing pitchers were among the top-24 in strikeouts per nine innings–Michigan State’s Mark Mulder (10th, 12.0), Santos (15th, 11.6) and Evansville’s John Kremer (11.4)–while Santos was first in wins (15-1) and his teammate Darryl Rogue was tied for third (13-2).
Five BIG EAST players finished among the NCAA’s top-70 leaders in batting avg.: Boston College’s Sean McGowan (15th, .432), West Virginia’s Joe McNamee (17th, .429), St. John’s Mike Dzurilla (19th, .427), WVU’s Jamie Hammond (40th, .417) and Rutgers’ Dave Marciniak (55th, .410). Other opposing players who finished in the top 70: BYU’s Troy McNaughton (20th, .427) and Spencer Oborn (22nd, .426), CMU’s Rick Hollern (.421) and Miami’s Aubrey Huff (51st, .412) and Bobby Hill (69th, .404).
McNaughton (20th, 0.42, 22 overall) and McGowan (22nd, 0.41, 16l) finished among the top-35 leaders in home runs/gm, as did BYU’s Ryan Pond (30th, 0.39, 20). Finishing among the top-35 leaders in RBI/gm were: Huff (15th, 1.51, 95 overall), McGowan (25th, 1.41, 55), McNaughton (27th, 1.40, 74) and Connecticut’s Billy Rich (31st, 1.38, 56).
McGowan (4th, .884) and McNaughton (8th, .872) ranked among the NCAA’s top-24 leaders for slugging pct. while Georgetown’s Sean Mignogna (5th, 0.17, 9 overall) and NC State’s Brad Piercy (19th, 0.11, 7) were among the top-21 leaders for triples/gm. Marciniak (7th, 0.52, 24 overall) ranked among the top-25 in doubles/gm, followed by McNamee (10th, 0.50, 27), NC State’s Brian Ward (13th, 0.48, 31), BC’s Mike Quirk (14th, 0.48, 15), McNaughton (16th, 0.47, 25) and Evansville’s Ryan Connors (23rd, 0.45, 25).
McNaughton ranked 17th in the NCAA for runs/gm (1.43, 76 overall) while Hill ranked 12th with 0.73 stolen bases/gm (46 overall). Three opposing players ranked among the top-24 leaders for walks/gm: Miami’s Jason Michaels (14th, 1.03, 63 overall), Duke’s Vaughn Schill (19th, 0.95, 55) and FSU’s Brooks Badeaux (23rd, 0.93, 68). Ball State’s Brian Doorman was the NCAA’s 10th “toughest to strike out”, averaging 26.8 at-bats per K (214/8) while UWM’s Steve Johnson ranked 22nd (17.8, 178/10).
Six Notre Dame opposing teams ranked among the nation’s top 35 ERA leaders: FSU (3rd, 3.78), St. John’s (6th, 3.94), Miami (8th, 3.87), Ball State (17th, 4.16), WVU (23rd, 4.49) and Duke (33rd, 4.69). Seven finished among the batting leaders: WVU (2nd, .358), BYU (3rd, .356), UConn (12th, .343), Rutgers (18th, .339), BC (25th, .336), Miami (27th, .335) and Providence (29th, .335). Six ranked among the top scoring teams: BYU (4th, 10.23 runs/gm), Miami (5th, 10.11), Rutgers (15th, 9.35), PC (21st, 9.20), WVU (29th, 9.02) and FSU (35th, 8.74).
Seven opposing teams ranked among the fielding pct. leaders: Miami (7th, .969), St. John’s (9th, .969), Valparaiso (12th, .968), Indiana (17th, .967), FSU (18th, .966), UWM (.965) and Bowling Green (.964). Six finished ranked in double plays/gm: NC State (2nd, 1.28, 82 overall), FSU (3rd, 1.27, 93), Michigan (9th, 1.20, 93), Providence (14th, 1.13, 61), Pittsburgh (33rd, 1.05, 42) and Miami (34th, 1.05, 66).
BYU (2nd, .634) and Miami (5th, .601) were among the top teams for team slugging while BYU finished 3rd in home runs/gm (2.23, 118 overall) and Miami was 4th (2.21, 139). Rutgers ranked 19th in triples/gm (0.45, 22 overall) while four Irish opponents ranked among the doubles/gm leaders: BYU (4th, 2.77, 147 overall), Rutgers (7th, 2.71,133), WVU (24th, 2.44, 134) and UConn (31st, 2.40, 101).
Miami ranked third in team winning pct. (.810, 51-12), followed by FSU (14th, .726, 53-20), Ball State (33rd, .684, 39-18), UWM (34th, .684, 33-15) and WVU (35th, .682. 37-17).