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Close Named NCBWA Freshman All-American
Liberty first baseman Alex Close has been selected to the 2012 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Freshman All-American Team, the organization announced today. The team is selected by a vote of the NCBWA's membership, which includes writers, broadcasters and publicists of the college baseball.
A total of 32 standout freshmen college baseball players from every part of the country are featured on the 2012 NCBWA Freshman All-American Team. The team features players from 19 conferences and eight conference championship teams. The two All-American squads are also made up of 14 conference "Rookie of the Year" winners.
Close, the Big South Freshman of the Year, was selected as the squad's second team first baseman. This past Wednesday, he was named to the 2012 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.
He 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 first Liberty player to be selected to the NCBWA Freshman All-American team. He is the fifth Liberty freshman in program history to be named to a Freshman All-American squad. Third baseman Tyler Bream was named to a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American in 2009, while first baseman Aaron Grijalva was selected to the same team in 2005. In 2000, outfielder Keith Butler became the first Liberty player to be named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America team. The same year, Baseball America selected shortstop Joey Monahan and Butler to its All-American squad.
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.
NCBWA 2012 Freshman All-America Team
Pos. Name, School
C Chase Griffin, Georgia Southern
1B Michael Katz, William & Mary
2B Pat Kelly, Nebraska
3B Trea Turner, N.C. State
SS Andrew Daniel, San Diego
OF Michael Conforto, Oregon State
OF Rhys Hoskins, Sacramento State
OF Ryan Padilla, New Mexico
DH Kevin Krause, Stony Brook
Utility A.J. Reed, Kentucky
SP Mike Compton, Florida State
SP Preston Morrison, TCU
SP Carlos Rodon, N.C. State
RP Tyler Burgess, Missouri State
RP Jonathan Holder, Mississippi State
RP Kellen Urbon, Cornell
C Mark Zagunis, Virginia Tech
1B Alex Close, Liberty
2B Jason Volser, Northeastern
3B Jose Trevino, Oral Roberts
SS Cole Peragine, Stony Brook
OF Austin Cuisino, Kentucky
OF Derek Fisher, Virginia
OF Matt Honchel, Miami (OH)
DH Corey Dick, UNC Wilmington
UT Greg Mahle, UC Santa Barbara
SP Brenton Moss, North Carolina
SP Jared Ruxer, Louisville
SP Andrew Vasquez, UC Santa Barbara
RP David Berg, UCLA
RP Bradley Roney, Southern Miss
RP Chad Sobotka, USC Upstate