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Four Flames Selected in the MLB Draft
Four Liberty Flames were selected during the 2014 Major League Baseball (MLB) First Year Player Draft, Saturday. Liberty infielder Ryan Seiz, pitcher/outfielder Ashton Perritt, catcher/first baseman Alex Close and pitcher Adam Parks were chosen this afternoon.
The Los Angeles Angels drafted Seiz and the Atlanta Braves selected Perritt in the 17th round, while Close was chosen in the 27th round by the Kansas City Royals and Parks was taken in the 33rd round by the Texas Rangers. With the selection of four Flames today, Liberty has had 58 players selected in the MLB Draft during the 41-year history of its program and had a player chosen in each draft since 2000. Over the past four years, Liberty has had four or more players picked in each first-year player draft and 20 players selected overall.
Seiz, a junior, was taken by the Los Angeles Angels with the 509th pick of the 2014 Draft. The infielder is the third Flames player to be selected by the Angels in program history.
In his first season in a Liberty uniform, the infielder was voted the 2014 Big South Player of the Year and became the first Flame to be selected to a postseason All-America team, when he was named a Louisville Slugger All-American.
Seiz started every game for the Flames in 2014. Selected to the Big South All-Conference team, the second baseman led the conference in runs scored, home runs, slugging percentage and total bases. He finished the year pacing Liberty in batting average (.351), runs scored (55), doubles (16), home runs (12), on base percentage (.429), total bases (137) and slugging percentage (.593). He also had 43 RBIs.
Seiz became the first Liberty player to be listed as a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Award, which the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) gives annually to college baseball's top player. He also was a semifinalist for the Gregg Olson Award, given to the collegiate baseball's "breakout" player of the year.
During the year, Seiz was named the NCBWA National Hitter of the Week for the week ending March 2, along with earning ECAC Player of the Week honors for March 30 of the season. He was tabbed the Big South Player of the Week twice this season.
Perritt, also a junior, was ranked as one of the top 2014 draft prospects in the Big South Conference by Baseball America. With the 523rd selection, the Atlanta Braves took Perritt as pitcher, making him the third player to chosen by the Braves in Flames program history.
Perritt, who also started in center field for the Flames, finished 2014 second on the Liberty career list with 22 saves. In 45 career appearances, the right-hander has posted a 4-4 record with a 1.79 ERA over 70 1/3 innings. He struck out 67 batters and walked 20 over three seasons.
This past season, Perritt was a member of the midseason NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch list and selected to the Big South All-Conference team as a relief pitcher. The reliever went 1-2 with 1.52 ERA and a career-high 12 saves over 29 2/3 innings in 2014. His 12 saves were second in the Big South. In addition, the right-hander struck out 28 batters and walked five in 21 appearances.
Perritt was selected to the NCAA Charlottesville All-Regional team as a center fielder and the Big South All-Tournament team as its utility player. As a hitter, the Whiteland, Ind., native hit .301 over his three seasons in a Flames uniform. In 129 games as an outfielder, Perritt scored 82 runs, drove in 42 and stole 42 bases. He led Liberty with 18 stolen bases this season.
Perritt was selected to two Preseason All-America teams as a utility player in 2014. The NCBWA selected Perritt to its second team, while he was named to the third team of the Louisville Slugger Preseason chosen by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. In 2013, the two-way player was selected as the Big South Championship Tournament MVP after leading the Flames to the Big South Championship title.
Close, who played first base for Liberty this past spring, was picked as a catcher by the Kansas City Royals with the 813th selection of the draft. A junior in 2014, he becomes the first Flames player to ever be picked by the Royals.
Close was named an All-Big South first team member, after the first baseman hit .324 with 34 runs scored and a team-leading 45 RBIs in 2014. He hit 14 doubles, belted eight home runs and posted a .505 slugging percentage. In addition, the team captain led the Flames with a .408 batting average with runners in scoring position. He finished the year third in the Big South in home runs and RBIs, while ranking sixth in slugging percentage.
Close was one of two juniors from across the country to be selected to the 2014 Capital One Academic All-America first team. The squad celebrates both on field and academic achievements. He is one of only three players in program history to be named to a CoSIDA Academic All-America team.
The Hoover, Ala., native posted a .282 batting average, scored 82 runs and drove in 119 runs during his three seasons at Liberty. The infielder collected 34 doubles and hit 25 home runs for his career.
In 2012, Close set the Big South and Liberty records for home runs by a freshman with 14. He was selected the Big South Freshman of the Year and was named to the both the Louisville Slugger and NCBWA Freshman All-American teams.
Parks, a redshirt sophomore in 2014, was selected with the 996th pick of the draft by the Rangers. The right-handed pitcher becomes the third Flames player to be taken by Texas. The Rangers have selected a Liberty player in three straight drafts.
In eight appearances this past season, Parks was 0-1 with a 12.10 ERA over 9 2/3 innings. He struck out nine batters and walked eight. The right-hander was used mainly in short relief in 2014, with seven of his appearances coming in relief.
Parks has posted a 1-4 record with an 8.67 ERA in two seasons in a Flames uniform. In 20 appearances, he struck out 20 and walked 19 over 27 innings.