April 6, 1998
Freshman Aaron Heilman Named Big East Pitcher of the Week
Logansport native recognized for stellar week of relief work.
Notre Dame freshman righthander Aaron Heilman (Logansport, Ind./Logansport HS) has been named the BIG EAST Conference pitcher of the week for March 30-April 5, following an impressive four-game stretch of shutout relief.
Heilman totaled 11 strikeouts during the week while allowing just two hits and two walks over five and two-thirds innings. Opposing batters hit just .105 versus him for the week (2-for-19).
Heilman saved both games of Notre Dame's doubleheader at Boston College on April 4. He struck out BC cleanup hitter and home-run leader Ryan McGowan (5 HRs in 15 games) with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh and final inning, preserving a 5-2 win. Heilman then saved the second game (6-4) by striking out two and allowing one hit and one walk over the final one and one-third innings.
Earlier in the week, the surging 6-4, 200-pound rookie shut down Bowling Green in a tight 4-4 game on April 2, facing the minimum nine batters from the 8th-10th innings while striking out six (the Irish went on to win, 6-4 in 11 innings). Heilman also threw a shutout inning versus Western Michigan on April 1 (an 8-1 win), allowing one hit and one walk while striking out two.
Two Notre Dame pitchers have been honored during the first four weeks of the BIG EAST awards, with junior righthander Brad Lidge tabbed for the first BIG EAST pitcher of the week award this season (March 16). Senior shortstop J.J. Brock also was named BIG EAST player of the week on March 16.
Heilman has lowered his season earned-run average to 1.73 while opponents are batting just .185 versus the talented freshman. Heilman leads the Irish strikeouts per nine innings pitched (11.8) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.9), totaling 34 K's and just seven walks in 26 innings.
Two other BIG EAST honorees will be at Notre Dame's Eck Stadium this Thursday, April 9, when the conference's top two teams--first-place Notre Dame (6-0) and second-place Rutgers (5-1)--meet in a noon doubleheader. Rutgers junior first baseman Pete Zoccolillo was named the BIG EAST player of the week for March 30-April 5 while RU freshman third baseman Jake Daubert copped rookie of the week honors. Rutgers senior riughthander Mike Mundy was BIG EAST pitcher of the week for March 23-29.
The Irish and Scarlet Knights played a memorable series last season at Rutgers, with each game decided by one run (Notre Dame won the opener 3-2 and the final game 6-5 while RU took the middle game, 15-14).
* Notre Dame's current 10-game winning streak equals the second-longest in the four-year tenure of head coach Paul Mainieri (the 1995 team won 11 straight). The Irish have won 18 of their last 21 this season and 26 of their last 32 in BIG EAST regular season games
* Notre Dame's seven home runs at BC on Sunday set a school record and equaled the second-most ever in a BIG EAST game. The Irish are on pace for 89 home runs, which would blow away last year's record total (66). Notre Dame has hit a home run in 11 straight games and 15 of the last 16.
* Junior catcher Jeff Wagner's 36 career home runs are one shy of equaling the team record.
* Brock's career BIG EAST batting average is up to .411 (6th in BIG EAST history).
* The Irish pitching staff is on pace for a team record 490 strikeouts, averaging 8.48 per nine innings (best at Notre Dame since 1963).