NEWARK, Del. – Blue Hen junior Jimmy Yezzo (at right), who was named the team’s Pape Lukk Alumni Association Most Valuable Player, headlines the University of Delaware baseball team’s yearly award winners announced this week by head coach Jim Sherman.

In addition to his MVP award, Yezzo was named Most Outstanding Offensive player for the second-straight season. Starting pitcher Chad Kuhl was tabbed the squad’s Most Outstanding Pitcher, junior third baseman EJ Stoltzfus was named Defensive Player of the Year, and junio -transfer starting pitcher Adam Davis was selected the Max Orland Rookie of the Year. Senior captain Nick Ferdinand and junior outfielder Alex Mottle were named co-recipients of the Perry E. Burkett Triple Effort Award.

Delaware (33-20, 15-12 CAA) will begin post-season play at the 2013 Colonial Athletic Association Baseball Championships at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. on Wednesday. The No. 3 seed Blue Hens will face the No. 6 seed James Madison in the second game of the opening round of the tournament.  First pitch is set for 3:30 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park.  The double-elimination tournament will run through Saturday with the winner earning an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

Yezzo, a junior from Cherry Hill, N.J. (Bishop Eustace High School), started all 53 games for the Hens and led the country in doubles (27) and was second in the nation in hits (91) and total bases (161).  He also ranked in the NCAA Top 10 in four additional offensive categories; second in doubles per game (.51), fourth in slugging percentage (.719), sixth in batting average (.406) and tied for 10th in RBI (63). The 6-foot first baseman was the CAA’s Pre-Season Co-Player of the Year and won CAA Player of the Week on Mar. 25.

“Jimmy has had one of those career years that placed him as one of the all-time greats at Delaware,” said Sherman. “He’s our MVP because we wouldn’t be in the position we are in right now this season without him playing every day.”

Kuhl (above left), a junior from Middletown, Del. (Middletown HS), was the ace of the Blue Hens pitching staff with a 10-2 record to go along with a 3.53 ERA and 76 strikeout 14 starts.  The 6-3 right-hander is one of 24 pitchers in the country to achieve double-digit wins to go along with two complete games, on Mar. 29 vs. Georgia State and May 10 at Northeastern. Addition he was named CAA Pitcher of the Week on May 13.

“Becoming the first Hen to win 10 games in a season in over a decade speaks for itself,” said Sherman. “Chad finally had that breakout year where he became the front-line starter we knew he could blossom into.”

Stoltzfus (middle right), a junior from Brigantine, N.J. (Holy Spirit HS), finished the regular season with a .288 batting average, two home runs and 21 RBI in 44 games.  In 102 chances to go along with 25 putouts and 71 assists in the field, Stoltzfus committed only six errors on the season.

“There were stretches during the season where EJ’s glove was like fly paper and he was making play after play,” said Sherman.  “With a real sense of timing and feel for balls hit in his direction, he really anchored the third base position for us.”

Davis (middle left), a junior from Drums, Pa. (Hazelton Area HS), made 13 starts and one relief appearance for the Hens in his first season in Newark.  The 6-foot right-hander produced a 5-7 record with a 3.84 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 89.0 innings pitched.

“Adam’s record may not show it, but he was one of our most consistent pitchers all season,” said Sherman.  “A highly-competitive ballplayer, he gave us an opportunity to win in almost all of his starts and that’s what we want in our starters.”

Ferdinand, a senior from Bensalem, Pa. (Archbishop Ryan HS), started in 52 games for the Blue Hens this season and led the CAA with 14 home runs.  One of two senior captains, he was second on the team with a .353 batting average, 59 RBI and a .677 slugging percentage.  He was named Louisville Slugger Co-National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball Newspapers in addition to CAA Player of the Week on May 20.

“Nick’s work ethic on and off the field is truly special,” said Sherman.  “His ability to balance and excel in the classroom and on the ball field is an example that.

Mottle (bottom right), a junior from Pennington, N.J. (Hopewell Valley Central HS), played in 32 games and made 10 starts this season for the Hens.  Primarily used as Delaware’s top pinch-hitter, Mottle was a .368 hitter in that role for the Hens this season.  He finished the year with .300 batting average to go along with three doubles and nine RBI in 50 at bats this season.

“Alex is one of the most unselfish kids I’ve ever coached,” said Sherman.  “On the field and in the classroom, he truly embodies what a student-athlete should be.”