May 22, 2012
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - Rhode Island sophomore outfielder Jeff Roy has been named the Atlantic 10 Conference Baseball Player of the Year, in voting conducted among the league's head coaches. Massachusetts senior right-hander Joe Popielarczyk was honored as the Conference's Pitcher of the Year, while Richmond pitcher Zak Sterling was tabbed Rookie of the Year. In the same vote, Darin Hendrickson of Saint Louis was selected as the league's Coach of the Year.
Roy enters this week's Baseball Championship as the league-leader in hits (82), runs (59) and triples (5), while ranking second in batting average (.364) and third in on-base percentage (.449). During the week of April 2, the Cranston, R.I., native was honored as College Baseball Insider National Player of the Week A-10 Player of the Week. Roy reached base in a Conference-best 41 consecutive games, registered 26 multiple-hit games and had eight multiple-RBI outings during the spring. He is the third Ram in program history to earn the Atlantic 10's top baseball honor, joining URI alums Dan Batz (2004) and Dan Rhault (2009).
Popielarczyk has posted a Conference-best 1.24 ERA and 6-1 overall record in his 79.2 innings of work, including 62 strikeouts and one complete-game in his 11 starts on the mound this season. He allowed only 11 earned runs this spring and 26 total walks. Additionally, the Florence, Mass., native registered a 1.16 ERA, along with a 5-1 record in 62.1 innings pitched during Conference play, allowing just eight earned runs with 48 strikeouts. He is the third UMass hurler to earn Pitcher of the Year honors, including former Minutemen Jay Murphy (1995) and Matt Torra (2005). Roy and Popielarczyk are joined on the All-Conference first team by Charlotte's Shane Brown (OF); Dayton's Brian Blasik (SS) and Bobby Glover (OF); Rhode Island's Pat Fortunato (2B); Richmond's Chris Cowell (C) and Jacob Mayers (DH); Kevin Taylor (1B) and Kyle Mullen (SP) of Saint Joseph's; Travis Parker (RP) of Saint Louis; and Temple's Steve Nikorak (3B).
The All-Conference second team consists of Charlotte's Shane Basen (3B); Dayton's C.J. Gillman (OF), Zach Stewart (OF) and Tim Bury (SP); Fordham's Ryan Maghini (SS); Rhode Island's Milan Adams (C), Jeff Cammans (1B) and Pat Quinn (DH); Richmond's Adam Forrer (2B); Alex Alemann (SP) and Alex Kelly (OF) of Saint Louis; and Xavier's Seth Willoughby (RP).
Sterling recorded a 2.91 ERA during the 2012 campaign, including a 6-1 overall record in his 68.0 innings pitched, and 55 strikeouts. The Salisbury, Md., native limited batters to a league-best .188 average at the plate, while allowing a Conference-low 45 hits on the year. Sterling ranked second in the A-10 in league games with his 1.77 ERA, while posting a perfect 4-0 record with nine earned runs in 45.2 inning of work. He is only the second Spider to be tabbed Rookie of the Year, joining former UR standout Matt Zielinski (2007).
Sterling is joined on the All-Rookie team by Charlotte's LeLand Clemmons; Dayton's A.J. Ryan; Fordham's Matthew Cianci; La Salle's Mike McLeod; Conor LeBlanc of Massachusetts; Rhode Island's Tim Caputo; Ryan Pater of Saint Joseph's; James Norwood and Alex Sole of Saint Louis; Temple's Patrick Peterson; Xavier's Alex Westrick.
The Academic All-Conference, comprised of 12 student-athletes with a grade-point average of 3.0 or better (on a 4.0 scale), consists of Charlotte's Shane Basen and Corbin Shive; Dayton's C.J. Gillman, Bryce Lahrman and Robby Sunderman; Rhode Island's Dan Haverstick; George Washington's Kenny O'Brien; La Salle's Pat Christensen and Brendan Norton; Joe Popielarczyk of Massachusetts; St. Bonaventure's Billy Urban; and Xavier's Seth Willoughby.
After leading the Billikens to a 17-7 mark in conference play and the program's first No. 1 seed in the upcoming Conference Championship, Saint Louis head coach Darin Hendrickson was named A-10 Coach of the Year. SLU is making its third trip to the A-10 Championship, winning the event in its last two appearances (2009, 2006). Under Hendrickson's guidance, the Billikens won a program-record 40 games during the regular season.
The 2012 Atlantic 10 Baseball Championship commences on Wednesday, May 23, with No. 4 Massachusetts facing fifth-seeded Richmond at 12:00PM, while third-seeded Rhode Island squares off against No. 6 Saint Joseph's at 3:30PM. Top-seeded Saint Louis will take on the winner of the Massachusetts/Richmond match-up, May 24 at 12:00PM, while No. 2 Dayton opens the Championship against the winner of the Rhode Island/Saint Joseph's outing, May 24 at 3:30PM.
The first three days of competition, May 23-25, can be viewed live via webstream on the Atlantic 10's online home -- www.atlantic10.com -- free of charge. Saturday's championship game will begin at Noon on March 26 and will be televised live nationally on CBS Sports Network, while the "if necessary" game of the 2012 event will be shown via the A-10's live webstream. For complete coverage of the 2011 Atlantic 10 Baseball Championship, log on to www.atlantic10.com.
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