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Close Named Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American
Liberty first baseman Alex Close has been named to the 2012 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America team, selected by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper this afternoon.
Close, the Big South Freshman of the Year, hit .304 with 36 runs scored, 47 RBIs and 14 home runs during his first year with the Flames. The first baseman led the Big South Conference in home runs, setting new Big South and Liberty records for round trippers by a freshman. The Hoover, Ala., native added eight doubles and two triples, leading the Flames with 117 total bases and a .565 slugging percentage.
Close becomes the fourth Liberty freshman to be selected to the Louisville Slugger team in its 22-year history. Third baseman Tyler Bream was the last Flame named to the team in 2009, while first baseman Aaron Grijalva was selected to the team in 2005. In 2000, outfielder Keith Butler became the first Liberty player to be named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America team.
Close played in 52 games, with 49 starts, during his first season at Liberty. The freshman posted 16 multiple-hit games and 14 multiple-RBI contests during the campaign. He had four games with four or more RBIs. His 11-game hit streak from March 30-April 16 tied for the longest consecutive game hit streak by a Flame this past season.
He completed the year by being named to the 2012 Big South All-Tournament team. Close hit .375 with five RBIs, four runs scored and two home runs over Liberty's four games in the Big South Baseball Championship.
Close helped Liberty post a 41-19 record this spring. The Flames won 40 or more games for the second time in three seasons and won 30 or more games for the eighth consecutive year.