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Liberty Ranked No. 23 in Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Preseason Poll

December 22, 2014
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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2015 Louisville Slugger Preseason All-American Alex Close

The Liberty Flames baseball team has been ranked No. 23 in The Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's 2015 Fabulous 40 NCAA Division I preseason baseball poll, released earlier today.

Liberty, which posted a 41-18 overall record last season, is listed in the poll for the second straight year. The Flames were ranked No. 35 in the 2014 preseason poll. 2014 Big South Coach of the Year Jim Toman's team is the only Big South Conference squad listed in the poll.

Liberty returns 21 players from last year's team, including first baseman Alex Close and pitcher Ashton Perritt.  Last week, both players were named Louisville Slugger Preseason All-Americans by The Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. The publication selected Close to the second team, while Perritt was tabbed as a relief pitcher on the third team. Both players were named Big South All-Conference in 2014.

Also among the Flames' returnees are Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American and Big South Freshman of the Year Parker Bean and all-conference shortstop Dalton Britt.

Liberty earned the program's first ever at-large selection to an NCAA Regional in 2014. With their selection, the Flames appeared in a regional in back-to-back years for the first time in team history.

With 41 wins, the 2014 Flames recorded the second most wins and posted the fourth 40-plus win season in program history.  Liberty also set a program high for Big South Conference victories with a 23-3 mark, while earning a top 25 ranking from all of the major polls during the season.    

Liberty opens its 2015 campaign at Kennesaw State on Feb. 13 in the Atlanta Challenge.  The Owls, who were an NCAA Super Regional Participant last season, are ranked No. 27 in the Fabulous 40 poll. The Flames will also visit Georgia State on Feb. 14 and Georgia Tech on Feb. 15 as part of the Atlanta Challenge during collegiate baseball's opening weekend. Georgia Tech is ranked No. 26 in the preseason poll.