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Lyons Named Big South Pitcher of the Year; Close Scholar-Athlete of Year

May 18, 2015  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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Liberty left-hander Jared Lyons has been named the 2015 Big South Pitcher of the Year

Liberty left-hander Jared Lyons has been named the 2015 Big South Pitcher of the Year

Liberty senior left-hander Jared Lyons was selected as the Big South Pitcher of the Year and first baseman/pitcher Alex Close was named the Big South Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. The Big South Conference announced its baseball awards and all-conference team late this afternoon.

Lyons and Close were also named to the Big South All-Conference first team.

With Lyons' selections, a Liberty pitcher was named Big South Pitcher of the Year for the second straight year. Former Flames right-hander Trey Lambert was given the honor in 2014.

Close was named the Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year, joining former Liberty Flames Brian Harrell (2000), Matt Stewart (2001) and Trey Lambert (2014) as winners of the award.

Lyons, named to the Big South All-Conference team for the first time, finished the 2015 regular season with an 8-1 record with a 1.87 ERA over 91 2/3 innings. In 15 appearances, 12 of which were starts, the left-hander struck out 91 and walked 20 batters. He recorded three complete games and two shutouts during 2015.

Named Big South Pitcher of the Week and ECAC Pitcher of the Week three times this season, Lyons concluded the regular season as the Big South leader in complete games (3), shutouts (2) and opponent batting average (.190). He also finished second in ERA (1.87) and innings pitched (91.2), third in wins (8) and fourth in strikeouts (91).

Close was selected to the Big South All-Conference first team as an infielder for the second time. The senior enters this week's Big South Baseball Championship with a .341 batting average, 45 RBI and 40 runs scored. He also has collected 12 doubles, two triples and seven home runs this season.

The first baseman completed the 2015 regular season ninth in batting average, tied for eighth in hits (72) and seventh in RBI. The Big South and ECAC Player of the Week for March 29, he was also 10th in home runs, sixth in total bases (109) and 10th in on base percentage.

Currently, Close is among Liberty's career leaders in several categories. The first baseman is third in hits (255), fourth in home runs (33) and fifth in RBI (165).

In 2014, Close was named to the Capital One Academic All-American first team. He is one of only two Liberty baseball players to ever be named to the first team.

This season, Close has already been selected to the 2015 Capital One All-District 3 first team. The first baseman/pitcher was also named the recipient of the 2015 Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award. The Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award was established to honor the top graduating senior student-athlete at Liberty University who best exemplifies the standards and lives of both of these great Christian men.

Liberty, 33-21 overall, finished the Big South regular season with a 16-8 conference record, tied for third place with Winthrop. Due to the tiebreaker, the Flames will be the No. 4 seed for the Big South Baseball Championship, starting Tuesday.

The Flames will square off with No. 5 seed High Point Panthers, Tuesday in Game 4 of the Big South Baseball Championship at John Henry Moss Stadium in Boiling Springs, N.C.  First pitch is scheduled for 45 minutes after the conclusion of the No. 1 seed Radford vs. No. 8 seed Longwood, scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m.

2015 Big South Baseball Awards

Player of the Year

Cole Hallum Jr., OF/RP, Campbell

Pitcher of the Year

Jared Lyons, Sr., LHP, Liberty

Freshman of the Year

Bobby Holmes, RHP, Coastal Carolina

Scholar-Athlete of Year

Alex Close, 1B/P, Liberty

Coach of the Year

Joe Raccuia, Radford


First Team

Outfielders
Josh Greene, So., High Point
Anthony Marks, Jr., Coastal Carolina
Anthony Paulsen, R-So., Winthrop

Infielders
Josh Gardiner, Sr., Radford
Alex Close, Sr., Liberty
Tommy Houmard, Sr., UNC Asheville
Michael Paez, So., Coastal Carolina

Catcher
Cam McRae, Sr., Presbyterian

Utility
Cole Hallum, Jr., OF/RP, Campbell

Designated Hitter
Patrick Marshall, Sr., Radford

Starting Pitchers
Jared Lyons, Sr., LHP, Liberty
Michael Boyle, Jr., LHP, Radford
Austin Kerr, Sr., LHP, Coastal Carolina

Relief Pitcher
Ryan Meisinger, Jr., RHP, Radford

Second Team

Outfielders
Cedric Mullins, Jr., Campbell
Kyri Washington, Jr., Longwood
Shane Johnsonbaugh, Jr., Radford

Infielders
Spencer Angelis, Sr., High Point
Hunter Bryant, Sr., UNC Asheville
Brad Kaczka, Sr., Winthrop
Hunter Higgerson, Sr., Radford

Catcher
Steven Leonard, R-Jr., Campbell

Utility
Connor Owings, Jr., Coastal Carolina

Designated Hitter
Matt Parrish, Jr., Campbell

Starting Pitchers
Heath Bowers, Sr., RHP, Campbell
Matt Crohan, So., LHP, Winthrop
Andrew Tomasovich, Jr., LHP, Charleston Southern

Relief Pitcher
Bobby Holmes, Fr., RHP, Coastal Carolina

Honorable Mention
Nate Blanchard, So., INF, Charleston Southern
Alex Cunningham, R-So., RHP, Coastal Carolina
Brian Dye, Jr., INF, Charleston Southern
Jay Lizanich, Sr., INF, Presbyterian
Aaron Myers, Sr., RHP, Longwood

All-Academic Team
Matt Parrish, Jr., C, Campbell
Robbie Streett, Sr., 1B/3B, Charleston Southern
Tyler Chadwick, Jr., 1B, Coastal Carolina
Ryan Hodge, Sr., SS, Gardner-Web
Will Resnik, Sr., P, High Point
Alex Close, Sr., 1B/P, Liberty
Kyri Washington, Jr., OF, Longwood
Jay Lizanich, Sr., SS, Presbyterian College
Josh Reavis, Sr., C, Radford
Hunter Bryant, Sr., INF, UNC Asheville
Brad Kaczka, Sr., 3B, Winthrop