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4 Flames Named to VaSID All-State Baseball Team
Liberty's Bryan Aanderud, Ian Parmley and John Niggli have been selected to the VaSID University Division All-State Baseball first team and Alex Close received second team honors, the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) announced this afternoon.
In his first season at Liberty, second baseman Aanderud was named to the Big South All-Conference second team. The junior led the Flames in batting average, RBIs, hits and on-base percentage in 2012. The infielder started all 60 Liberty contests this season, posting a .368 batting average with 53 RBIs, 42 runs scored and a .471 on base percentage. The Fullerton, Calif., native finished the year ranked third in the Big South Conference in batting average, hits, RBIs and on base percentage. He was also fifth in walks.
Aanderud paced the Flames with 26 multiple-hit games, including nine contests with three or more hits. In addition, the second baseman led Liberty with 15 multiple-RBI games. He closed the year with an 11-game hit streak, tying him for the longest by a Flame in 2012.
Parmley earned a place in the All-State first team outfield after hitting .312 with 66 runs scored, 26 RBIs and 30 stolen bases this past season. The 2012 Big South All-Conference first team outfielder started all 60 games, serving as Liberty's leadoff hitter and posting single-season career highs in runs scored, RBIs, stolen bases, hits (78), doubles (10) and walks (36).
Parmley was 13th in the nation and tied for the Big South Conference lead in runs scored. He also tied for the conference lead in stolen bases, while ranking fifth in hits and second in walks during his final season. The senior finished his career with 57 stolen bases, placing him sixth on Liberty's all-time stolen bases list. In addition, his 66 runs scored during 2012 are the second most in a single season by a Flame.
The Maltby, Wash., native became the highest Liberty draft pick since Jason Jones, who was taken by the New York Yankees in the fourth round of the 2004 MLB Draft. Parmley was selected in the seventh round of this year's Major League Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays.
Niggli posted a 9-4 record with one save and a 2.17 ERA in 2012, his senior season at Liberty. The right-hander's nine wins and 2.17 ERA rank fifth on each of Liberty's single-season lists. The 2012 Big South All-Conference first team selection led the Big South with 103 2/3 innings pitched, while ranking second in the conference in wins and fourth in ERA. The Tulare, Calif., native was selected the Big South Pitcher of the Week three times during the year (Feb. 19, Mar. 4 & Apr. 16).
Niggli was part of three shutouts, as the Flames set a Big South and school record for blankings in a season with 11. In two seasons at Liberty, he fashioned a 2.86 career ERA, the lowest for pitchers who pitched 100 or more innings in program history.
He became the highest Liberty pitcher to be taken in the MLB Draft since Jones in 2004. The right-hander was selected in ninth round, becoming the first Flame ever to be picked by the Texas Rangers.
Close, the Big South Freshman of the Year, was selected as the squad's second team first baseman. The first baseman capped a strong inaugural season at Liberty by being selected to both the 2012 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team and the NCBWA Freshman All-American team.
The Hoover, Ala., native hit .304 with 36 runs scored, 47 RBIs and 14 home runs this past season. He led the Big South Conference in home runs, setting new Big South and Liberty records for round trippers by a freshman. The first baseman also led the Flames with 117 total bases and a .565 slugging percentage.
Playing in 52 games, Close posted 16 multiple-hit games and 14 multiple-RBI contests during the 2012 campaign. In addition, he posted an 11-game hit streak tying him with Aanderud 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.
For the second time in three years and only the third time in school history, the Flames won 40 or more games in a season with a 41-19 overall record in 2012. Liberty's 41 wins are the second most in school history.