Baseball Announces 2012 Team Award Winners
Oct. 8, 2012
AMHERST, Mass. - UMass baseball head coach Mike Stone recently announced the team's 2012 award winners. Joe Popielarczyk was tabbed the E. Joseph Thompson Most Valuable Player, Dennis Torres received The Dennis DellaPiana Memorial Award and Rob McLam earned the Coaches Award for most improved.
Popielarczyk collected a host of accolades in 2012 as he was selected to the American Baseball Coaches Association Northeast Region Second Team, was named a New England Division I All-Stars first team selection, Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Year, First Team All-Atlantic 10 and to the Atlantic 10 Academic All-Conference Team.
With his 1.66 earned run average, which ranked seventh nationally, Popielarczyk became just the second UMass pitcher to finish the season as the Atlantic 10 leader in ERA, joining Matt Torra, who did so in 2005. In 12 starts, he allowed just 16 earned runs on 75 hits over 87 innings of work, en-route to a 6-2 record. He had two combined shutouts and one complete game, while limiting opponent batters to just 13 extra base hits (11 doubles, two home runs) and a .232 batting average. He logged 65 strikeouts to just 29 walks for a strikeouts-to-walks ratio of 2.2-to-1.
Torres became the first Minuteman since 2009 to receive The Dennis DellaPiana Memorial Award, which honors the courage, determination, and sportsmanship in a UMass baseball player. DellaPiana was truly a great student-athlete at UMass in the mid 1960's, but died in April of 1966 during his senior year after a long battle with Hodgkin's disease. His courage, determination and sportsmanship were exemplary.
Torres served as the No. 1 starter in the Minutemen's rotation in 2012 as a junior and went 4-4 with a 3.34 earned run average over 12 starts. He tossed a team-high 89 innings and was second on the team in strikeouts with 54, while walking 22. In his final start of the regular season, Torres threw his first complete game and struck out a career-high eight against George Washington. His 2012 single-season totals for games started and innings pitched rank seventh and eighth all-time in program history. Drafted by Baltimore in the 28th round of the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, Torres signed with the Orioles in June.
McLam led UMass with a .337 batting average as a sophomore in 2012, going 33-for-98 over 33 games with 29 starts. After missing time due to injury, he finished with 17 RBI and 17 runs scored with four doubles and was 7-for-11 in stolen base attempts. McLam was named Atlantic 10 Player of the Week on May 21 and ended the year with an active five-game hitting streak.