Popielarczyk Named Atlantic 10 Pitcher Of The Year
May 22, 2012
AMHERST, Mass. - UMass senior right-hander Joe Popielarczyk's 2012 Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Year honor highlights the Minutemen's A-10 postseason accolades, which were announced by the conference office this afternoon. Popielarczyk was also tabbed First Team All-Atlantic 10 and Academic All-Conference, while freshman left-hander Conor LeBlanc was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team.
Popielarczyk joins Matt Torra (2005) and Jay Murphy (1995) as the third Minuteman in program history to be recognized as A-10 Pitcher of the Year after finishing the regular season with a minuscule 1.24 earned run average, which ranks third in the nation and leads the Atlantic 10.
Through 11 starts, he has allowed just 11 earned runs on 64 hits over 79.2 innings of work, en-route to a 6-1 record. He has two combined shutouts and one complete game thus far on the year, while limiting opponent batters to just nine extra base hits (eight doubles, one home run) and a .220 batting average. He has logged 62 strikeouts to just 26 walks for a strikeouts-to-walks ratio of 2.4-to-1.
UMass is 8-3 in Popielarczyk's starts this season, including a pair of 2-1 losses, at #18 UCF and at Dayton. In the setback to the Flyers, Popielarczyk worked a career-high 9.1 innings.
He finished conference play with an A-10-best 1.16 ERA and a record of 5-1 in 62.1 innings on the mound. Popielarczyk fanned 48 batters in A-10 action to rank third in the league, while walking just 16. On Mar. 26, he was named Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the week after logging 13.1 consecutive shutout innings and striking out 10 in a complete game effort at Fordham.
Popielarczyk, who posted a 3.42 grade-point average as a Civil Engineering major, was previously honored as UMass' Male Spring Scholar Athlete earlier this month and was one of 51 players named to initial the watch list for national Pitcher of the Year by the College Baseball Hall of Fame.
LeBlanc is the fourth Minuteman in program history to earn an Atlantic 10 All-Rookie selection, the third in the past four seasons, joining current senior Tom Conley (2009) and redshirt sophomore Ryan Cusick (2010). The left-hander served as UMass' primary mid-week starter in 2011, logging a 4-1 record with a 3.37 ERA over 12 appearances, five starts, with a 3.37 ERA. LeBlanc helped pitch UMass to its sixth Beanpot Championship and first since 2008, striking out 11 in the tournament title game vs. Harvard. He was tabbed co-Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week on Apr. 16.