Tommie Sports - Baseball

Thomas, Olean top Baseball All-MIAC honor list

May 16, 2012

Senior captain Charles Bruchu was voted All-MIAC for the third straight season in addition to garnering honors for MIAC All-Defensive Team and Sportsmanship Award. (Greg Smith photo)

Junior Dylan Thomas was named the Mike Augustin Award winner as the MIAC Pitcher of the Year and was among eight Tommies recognized on the 2012 All-MIAC baseball teams.

In addition, Chris Olean was voted MIAC Jim Dimick Award recipient as Coach of the Year.

League champion St. Thomas had seven players on the 27-player All-MIAC team, and three on the 10-player All-Defensive team.

Junior 3B Charles Bruchu earned his third consecutive All-MIAC honor, while senior Bryce Gapinski was a repeat selection. They were joined by Thomas, sophomore RHP Steve Maher, freshman CF Ben Podobinski, sophomore LF Tim Kuzniar and junior SS Jon Kinsel.

Making the All-Defensive team were Bruchu, Kinsel and sophomore catcher J.D. Dorgan.

The Tommies won the program's 10th consecutive conference title with a 19-1 record. UST took second in the MIAC playoffs and received an at-large berth into the Division III playoffs -- the program's 17th NCAA appearance in the last 18 seasons. The No. 4-ranked Tommies (34-8) start play Wednesday in the NCAA regional tournament in Whitewater, Wis.

Thomas becomes the ninth Tommie baseball player in the last 15 seasons to be named MIAC Pitcher or Player of the Year. He joins Tayler Rahm (2011) Matt Schuld (2010), Lonnie Robinson (2007), Brett Olson, Brian Krause (2006), Jake Mauer (2001), Chris Olean (1999) and Buzz Hannahan (1998).

Thomas, another 2012 newcomer from Des Moines Area CC, is 6-0 with a save and an 0.80 ERA in last eight appearances. He's also batting .390 as designated hitter (30 hits in 21 games). In 20-game MIAC stats, Thomas was 4-0 with an ERA of 0.93, which led all conference starters. He struck out 34 in 29.0 innings and allowed just 22 base runners (16 hits, six walks). Thomas went the distance in three of his four MIAC starts with two shutouts, and opponents hit just .167. At the plate, he also batted .490 with 24 hits and 19 RBI in parts of 19 games.

Bruchu hit .540 (12-of-21) with 10 RBI in last week's conference playoffs as he homered three times. He's batting .427 in his last 23 games. His career postseason average is .400 (35-of-88). Overall he has 156 hits in 133 career games. In 20-game MIAC stats, Bruchu hit .310 with 18 hits, 16 runs and 17 RBI.

Kuzniar is a career .349 hitter with 87 hits, 57 runs scored, 31 walks in 81 games over his first two seasons. In 20 MIAC starts Kuzniar hit among the conference elite with a .382 average to go along with 21 hits, 14 runs scored and 15 RBI. Overall this season the Lakeville native is hitting .356 with 47 hits, eight doubles, two triples, two home runs, 30 RBI, 27 runs scored and 65 total bases. In addition Kuzniar has posted  an impressive .419 OBP% while hitting either second or fifth in the Tommie lineup and slugging at a .492 clip. Kuzniar has also been strong defensively for the Tommies totaling 35 putouts as the everyday left fielder and posting a .972 fielding percentage.

Dorgan, who becomes the first UST catcher to be named to the MIAC All Defensive Team, is a career .331 hitter with 88 hits, 56 RBI, 20 doubles and seven HRs in 82 games. The Eagan native has been outstanding defensively for the Tommies this season catching over 300 innings with just two passed balls while totaling 258 putouts, 44 assists to go along with a .987 fielding percentage in 306 defensive chances. Dorgan has thrown out 14 attempted base stealers in 26 chances (54%) while picking off an incredible 8 runners on the bases. Dorgan has now thrown-out more runners, in a single season, than any other UST catcher in the last 12 years (Brady Field, 12 - 2010, Zach Goldberg, 10 - 2006).

Gapinski is 8-0 with an 1.68 ERA, six complete games, five shutouts, and only 10 walks in 2012. On his career:, he's 27-5, with a 2.80 ERA, and his 27 wins are the third most in MIAC history. In 20-game MIAC stats, Gapinski was 4-0 and had only seven walks in 34 innings. He added a shutout win in the MIAC playoffs, and now has a streak of 27 scoreless innings.

Maher, a first-year Tommie, is 11-1 with a 2.18 ERA, and 84 strikeouts and just 15 walks in 74 innings. He has beaten nationally- or regionally-ranked St. Scholastica, UW-LaCrosse, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Whitewater, Chicago and St. John's. In 20-game MIAC stats, Maher went 5-1, and he added another complete-game victory in the MIAC playoffs last week with 16 strikeouts.

Podobinski has 19 multi-hit games, a .365 average with 54 hits, 37 runs and 16 steals in 41 games. In 20-game MIAC stats, Podobinski hit .324 with 22 hits and 18 runs.

Kinsel is the only Tommie to start all 42 games this spring. He has 38 hits in 42 career games with just six errors at shortstop. Kinsel joins a long line of very successful UST middle infielders who hail from Cretin Derham Hall joining Buzz Hannahan ('98), Jake Mauer ('01), Mike Kimlinger ('06), Mark Boland ('08), and Louie Salmen ('09). Kinsel is batting .333 in last 27 games and in 20-game MIAC starts, the slick fielding junior shortstop is hitting .345 with 19 hits and 10 runs scored.

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