EVANSVILLE, Ind. - University of Evansville senior first baseman and closer Tom Heithoff (Carroll, Iowa/Kuemper Catholic HS/NIACC) has been named to the inaugural John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award watch list, an award which recognizes a player who makes an impact both on the mound and at the plate.
Heithoff was selected as one of just 25 players from across the country to be named to the Olerud Award watch list. It marks the second watch list in which Heithoff has been named to, as he is also a part of the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association’s (NCBWA) Stopper of the Year mid-season watch list for the award honoring the nation’s top closer.
Heithoff serves as both UE’s starting first baseman and closer this season. At first base, Heithoff has posted a .989 fielding percentage this year defensively, while hitting .278 in the heart of the UE order with nine doubles, a triple, three home runs and 27 RBI in 41 games in the field. On the mound, Heithoff has been one of the Missouri Valley Conference’s top relief pitchers this year, as he is currently tied for the league lead with nine saves, while going 3-4 with a 3.86 ERA in 18 appearances, including one start on the mound. In 32.2 innings of work, Heithoff has struck out 28 men, while limiting teams to just 34 base hits on a .270 opponents batting average.
Heithoff has helped Evansville to a 26-21 overall record and 7-8 conference mark heading into Tuesday’s doubleheader with Austin Peay. The 26 victories already represent one more win than UE posted all of last season, while Evansville’s seven Valley victories equals last year’s total, despite there being two weeks left in the conference season. Evansville won two out of three games from in-state league rival Indiana State over the weekend, as Heithoff nailed down Friday’s 3-2 victory with his ninth save of the year, while he kick-started Sunday’s 7-3 victory with a key two-out, two-run single in UE’s seven-run sixth inning rally.