June 22, 1998
Notre Dame freshman righthander Aaron Heilman (Logansport, Ind.) has been named a first team Freshman All-American by Baseball America magazine, becoming the second Notre Dame player to earn consensus freshman All-America honors.
Heilman, whose dominating 1998 season included an NCAA-best 1.61 ERA, nine saves and a 7-3 record, previously was named a first team Freshman All-American and third team All-American by Collegiate Baseball magazine. He joins current Irish sophomore third baseman Brant Ust as the only Notre Dame players to be named a first team Freshman All-American by both of the national baseball publications.
Baseball America named University of California second baseman Xavier Nady its 1998 Freshman of the Year. Heilman, Nady and Auburn utility player Hayden Gliemmo earlier were named co-Freshmen of the Year by Collegiate Baseball.
The BIG EAST Conference was one of four conferences to place multiple players on BA's 16-player Freshman All-America first team, with Villanova outfielder Matt Longo and St. John's righthander Kevin McGerry joining Heilman as the BIG EAST honorees. The Pacific-10 and Southeastern Conference each had four selections while the Atlantic Coast Conference had three.
BA's Freshman All-America second team included one other BIG EAST player: Rutgers third baseman Jake Daubert.
Five of BA's Freshman All-Americans currently are teammates of Ust's on the USA national team that is competing at the World Championship Qualifier in Nicaragua: Nady, first team outfielder Patrick Boyd (Clemson), first team pitcher Nick Stocks (Florida State), second team shortstop Seth Davidson (USC) and second team pitcher Jon McDonald (Florida State).
Heilman's memorable season included a 1.61 ERA that ranks eighth in Notre Dame history and is third-best in the last 20 years, trailing only David Sinnes' nation-leading effort in 1990 (1.05) and Mark Clementz' 1.50 in 1982. The 6-4, 200-pound reliever fashioned a 33-inning shutout streak over 19 appearances during the middle of the 1998 season. He finished second on the team in victories (7-3) while his team-leading nine saves rank second in Irish history behind Mike Coffey's 10 in the 68-game '89 season (the Irish played 58 games in '98, going 41-17). . Heilman also led the Irish staff with a .198 opponent batting avg., second only to Sinnes' 1992 mark (.163) among Irish pitchers during the past eight seasons (stat not kept prior to '91).
All but one of Heilman's 31 appearances came in relief while he finished 26 of those 30 stints, allowing earned runs in only four relief outings. Heilman's 31 appearances trail only Coffey's 37 ('89) in the Irish record book while his 78 strikeouts in 67 innings rank 12th all-time at Notre Dame. He also led the '98 Irish staff with 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings and a 4.1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (19 total walks).
Heilman is the 11th Notre Dame baseball player to receive Freshman All-America honors and the sixth to earn first-team designation. Sinnes was a first team selection by BA in 1990 while fellow righthander Pat Leahy earned first-team honors from CB. Second baseman Greg Layson was a BA first teamer in 1992 while CB dubbed catcher Dennis Twombley a first team Freshman All-American in 1994. Ust last season became the first Notre Dame player ever named a first team Freshman All-American by both publications.
Heilman is the Notre Dame baseball program's first recipient of a national freshman-of-the-year award and became the first Irish freshman or sophomore ever named to an All-America baseball team (Ust was named a third team All-American by BA shortly after Heilman was named to the CB team).
BASEBALL AMERICA FRESHMAN ALL-AMERICA FIRST TEAM C - Scott Walter, Loyola Marymount (.383, 8 HR, 67 RBI, 8 SB). 1B - Todd Faulkner, Auburn (.382, 20 HR, 65 RBI). 2B - Xavier Nady, California (.404, 15 HR, 70 RBI, 9 SB). 3B - Garrett Atkins, UCLA (.383, 9 HR, 54 RBI, 1 SB). SS - Tim Hummel, Old Dominion (.386, 7 HR, 55 RBI, 10 SB). OF - Patrick Boyd, Clemson (.344, 8 HR, 59 RBI, 11 SB); Matt Diaz, Florida State (.395, 21 HR, 81 RBI, 10 SB); Matt Longo, Villanova (.393, 12 HR, 47 RBI, 8 SB). DH - Joe Borchard, Stanford (.330, 10 HR, 52 RBI, 4 SB). UT - Hayden Gliemmo, Auburn (.319, 3 HR, 22 RBI, 13-3, 4.94). P - Kip Bouknight, South Carolina (11-3, 4.07); Aaron Heilman, Notre Dame (7-3, 1.61, 9 SVS); Kevin McGerry, St. John's (6-2, 2.06); Nick Stocks, Florida State (7-2, 2.35); Justin Wayne, Stanford (6-0, 3.78, 6 SVS).
SECOND TEAM C - Bryan Kennedy, Long Beach State (.356, 8 HR, 81 RBI). 1B - Phil Hartig, The Citadel (.355, 17 HR, 62 RBI). 2B - Manny Crespo, Miami (.348, 16 HR, 63 RBI). 3B - Jake Daubert, Rutgers (.368, 10 HR, 64 RBI). SS - Seth Davidson, Southern California (.333, 5 HR, 31 RBI). OF - Daylan Holt, Texas A&M (.316, 7 HR, 48 RBI), Dominic Rich, Auburn (.317, 5 HR, 54 RBI); John Williamson, East Carolina (.340-13-38). DH - Casey Myers, Arizona State (.386, 8 HR, 58 RBI). UT - Jason Berni, Long Beach State (.364, 4 HR, 48 RBI, 5-5, 4.91). P - Jason Arnold, Central Florida (2-2, 2.04, 12 SV); Jeff Carlsen, Washington (7-3, 4.39); Rik Currier, Southern California (6-1, 5.30); Jon McDonald, Florida State (10-4, 4.56); Matt Smith, Oklahoma State (5-3, 3.46).