April 25, 2016

By Russell Dorn

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After hurling a complete-game shutout at No. 21 Michigan State last Wednesday, senior left-handed pitcher Michael Hearne has earned Atlantic Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week honors, it was announced Monday by the league office.

Hearne becomes the second Irish pitcher ever to earn ACC weekly honors after teammate Ryan Smoyer received co-pitcher of the week accolades in 2015.

Just 13 months removed from Tommy John surgery that sidelined him for virtually the entire 2015 campaign, Hearne has come back better than ever with a slim 2.25 ERA in nine appearances and 52.0 innings on the mound this season.

The Palos Heights, Illinois native has been especially lights out recently, though, as he has a 3-0 record with a 0.72 ERA over his last three midweek starts. In those three appearances he has pitched 25.0 innings, scattered 14 hits, allowed two runs, walked just two batters and struck out 10 while holding opponents to a .163 batting average.

He recently posted back-to-back complete games against Valparaiso and Michigan State to become the first Irish pitcher to accomplish that task since Cole Johnson in 2009.

“I think the world of Mike,” said head coach Mik Aoki. “He does everything the way we ask our players to do things from the baseball field, to the classroom, to the community. He embodies what we expect out of our players. He’s such a hard worker. We felt so bad for him last year when he had to have surgery, but we knew he would work his rear end off to get back and compete with this team.

“What makes him so successful is that he goes out and pitches to who he is. He commands the fastball and offers good secondary stuff. He’s not a big strikeout guy, but that’s part of what makes him so special. He is fearless in the strike zone. No one on our team is executing our game plan better than he is right now.”

Against the Spartans he needed just 91 pitches and 1:58 to pick up his fifth win of the season. He didn’t allow a runner to reach third base until the seventh inning, tallied five 1-2-3 frames and had five innings where he threw 10 pitches or less, including a five-pitch fourth inning and a four-pitch eighth frame.

Notre Dame is a remarkable 8-0 this year when Hearne starts the game on the mound.

Hearne ranks fifth in the ACC in opponent batting average (.211) and sixth in ERA (2.25) and is tied for first in both complete games (2) and shutouts (1). He is also tied for second in fewest home runs allowed (1), tied for third in fewest walks allowed (10), fifth in fewest runs allowed (13), seventh in fewest earned runs allowed (13) and eighth in fewest hits allowed (39) among eligible ACC pitchers.

The Irish (23-15) will send Hearne to the mound Tuesday night at Victory Field in Indianapolis to meet in-state foe Indiana. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. ET. Tickets are still available and can be purchased here.

For more information on the Notre Dame baseball team, follow the Irish on Facebook (/NDBaseball), Twitter (@NDBaseball) and Instagram (notredamebaseball).

Russell Dorn, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2011 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame volleyball, rowing and baseball programs. A native of Greenwood, South Carolina, Dorn graduated from Furman University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in history before earning his master’s degree in sports communications from Georgia State University in 2011.