First baseman Alex Close and pitcher Ashton Perritt were named Louisville Slugger Preseason All-Americans
Liberty seniors Alex Close and Ashton Perritt have been named to 2015 Louisville Slugger Preseason All-America teams chosen by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, announced earlier today.
Close and Perritt were key members of the 2014 Flames. Liberty posted a 41-18 overall record, earning the program's first ever at-large selection to an NCAA Regional. With their selection, Liberty appeared at a regional in back-to-back years for the first time in team history. With 41 wins, the Flames recorded the second most wins and posted the fourth 40-plus win season in program history. Liberty also set a program high for Big South Conference victories with a 23-3 mark in 2014, while earning a top 25 ranking from all of the major polls during the season. Close was named to the squad's second team. The first baseman was named an All-Big South first team member and was one of only two juniors from across the country to be selected to the 2014 Capital One Academic All-America first team. He was also named to the VaSID All-State baseball and All-State Academics squads.
The Hoover, Ala., native hit .324 with 34 runs scored and a team-leading 45 RBI, last season. He collected 14 doubles, belted eight home runs and posted a .505 slugging percentage. In addition, Close led the Flames with a .408 batting average with runners in scoring position. The team captain finished the year third in the Big South in home runs and RBI, while ranking sixth in slugging percentage.
Close was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the 27th round of the 2014 Major League Draft. However, he decided to return to Liberty for his senior year.
Close will enter the 2015 season ninth in program history with 26 career home runs. In his three seasons at Liberty, he has hit .288 with 120 RBI.
Perritt was selected to the third team as a relief pitcher, being named to a Louisville Slugger Preseason All-America team for the second consecutive season. Last year, Perritt was selected to the team as a utility player.
The Whiteland, Ind., native, who also started in center field, served as the closer for the Flames during 2014. He was a member of the midseason NCBWA Stopper of the Year Watch List and selected to the Big South All-Conference second team. In addition, he was named to the VaSID All-State first team as a utility player.
Perritt posted a 1-2 record with 1.52 ERA and a career-high 12 saves over 29 2/3 innings, this past season. His 12 saves were second in the Big South and the second most in a season by a Liberty pitcher. In addition, the right-hander struck out 28 batters and walked five in 21 appearances.
The two-way player was selected by the Atlanta Braves as a pitcher during the 17th round of the 2014 Major League Draft. Like Close, Perritt decided to return to Liberty for his senior year.
Perritt will enter 2015 ranked second all-time in program history with 22 career saves. He has led the Flames in saves each of the past two seasons.
Liberty will open its 2015 campaign at Kennesaw State, 2014 NCAA Super Regional participant, on Feb. 13.
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