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Rasmus, Linza and Bream Taken on the Final Day of the MLB Draft
Three more Liberty Flames were taken on the third and final day of the Major League Baseball Draft, Wednesday. Liberty catcher Casey Rasmus, pitcher Keegan Linza and third baseman Tyler Bream were selected this afternoon.
With three players selected today, the Flames had seven players taken during the 2011 MLB Draft, the most players chosen in a single draft in the 38-year history of the program. Previously, the Flames had five players taken in the 2002 Draft. In addition, Liberty ties the 2007 and 2010 Coastal Carolina squads for the Big South Conference record of seven players picked in a single draft. Liberty has had 47 players drafted in program history.
Rasmus was picked in the 36th round by the St. Louis Cardinals. Casey will join his brother, Colby, who currently is the starting center fielder for the Cardinals, and shortstop Matt Williams, who was taken by the team in the 15th round yesterday. Rasmus hit .287 with 18 RBIs, 26 runs scored and three home runs in his first season with the Flames in 2011. He had nine doubles, a triple and 18 stolen bases. The junior backstop was tough on would-be base stealers this past season, throwing out 41 percent (18-of-44) of would-be base stealers in 47 games.
Rasmus closed out the year by being named to the 2011 Big South Baseball Championship All-Tournament team. In Liberty's four games during the double-elimination tournament, he led the Flames with a .438 batting average and scored four times.
Linza was taken in the 38th round by the Chicago White Sox. Linza, a senior, finished the year with an 11-3 record, tying him with Jason Jones (2004) for the Liberty's single-season win record. The right-hander ranked sixth in the country and led the Big South in victories in 2011.
A 2011 first team Big South all-conference and a Big South Baseball Championship All-Tournament team member, Linza also led the Big South with 108 innings pitched and the second-best ERA in the conference (2.08). The two marks also are among the program's single-season lists. His 2011 ERA ranks as the fourth-best and his innings pitched were the fifth-highest in program history for a single season. In addition, he became the first Liberty pitcher to throw five complete games in a campaign since Michael Solbach went the distance five times in 2005. In two seasons with the Flames, Linza posted a 19-3 record with a 3.28 ERA and six complete games.
Bream was selected in the 42nd round by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The third baseman hit .252 with 33 RBIs and 28 runs scored in 2011. The junior was the only Flames to start and play in all 59 Liberty contests this season. He had nine doubles and three home runs. With his nine two-base hit this past season, Bream moved into eighth on the school's career list alongside former Liberty catcher David Benham (1995-98) and second baseman Michael Just (2003-06) with 46 doubles.
Bream was named a Freshmen All-American in 2009 by the Collegiate Baseball News and last season, was selected to the Big South All-Conference second team and All Tournament teams. In 2010, he set the Liberty single-season record for hits with 96. The total led the Big South Conference in hits. He also had the second-most doubles in a single season in program history, 22.
Liberty went 35-24 this past season. The Flames have had a player taken in every MLB Draft since 2000. Along with the three Flames selected today, four Liberty players were selected yesterday. Pitcher Garrett Baker was taken in the 11th round by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, pitcher Steven Evans was picked in the 13th round by the Minnesota Twins, shortstop Matt Williams was taken in the 15th round by the St. Louis Cardinals and pitcher Blake Forslund was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 17th round.