Alex Close and Jared Lyons were named to the VaSID All-State team this morning.
Liberty first baseman/pitcher Alex Close and pitcher Jared Lyons have been selected to the VaSID University Division All-State Baseball team, as announced by the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) this morning.
Both Close and Lyons were voted by the VaSID members to the first team. Close, who was named as a utility player, one who plays multiple positions, garners his third VaSID selection. In 2012 and 2013, he earned inclusion on the team at first base. Lyons garners his first selection.
Close finished his Liberty career by being named to the 2015 Capital One Academic All-America® Division I Baseball first team. The senior was selected to the team for the second consecutive year, becoming the first Liberty baseball player in program history to be selected to the academic team multiple times.
For the second straight season, Close earned Big South All-Conference first team honors as an infielder, ranking among the league leaders in several offensive categories. The two-way player finished the year among the Big South leaders in batting average (8th), hits (8th), home runs (10th), RBI (7th) and total bases (7th).
The Hoover, Ala., native hit .342 with 46 RBI and 40 runs scored in his final season at Liberty. The two-way player collected 13 doubles, seven home runs and 113 total bases, while posting a .422 on base percentage and a .516 slugging percentage.
He led the Flames in batting average, hits, doubles, slugging percentage and on base percentage. In addition, the first baseman led Liberty with 25 multi-hit games and 13 multi-RBI contests, while reaching base in a team-high 39 consecutive games.
Close also pitched for the Flames in 2015. The senior made 18 relief appearances, posting a 2-2 record with a 2.21 ERA and a team-leading six saves.
Close was named to the ECAC Division I All-Star team as a utility player. He also was selected as the 2015 Rock Royer/Mac Rivera Award, honoring the top graduating senior student-athlete at Liberty.
Close played first base and catcher and also pitched for Liberty this past spring. He was selected as a catcher in the 26th round of the 2015 MLB Draft by the Kansas City Royals.
Lyons completed his Liberty career by being named to the 2015 Louisville Slugger NCAA Division I All-America team, becoming the first Flames pitcher selected to a postseason NCAA Division I All-America team in program history. The senior also was voted the 2015 Big South Pitcher of the Year and was selected to the NCAA Division I Atlantic All-Region team by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA).
The Yorktown, Va., native, posted career highs with an 8-2 mark and a 1.99 ERA over 99 2/3 innings of work, this past season. The left-hander made 16 appearances with 13 starts, striking out 100 batters, while walking 22. He finished the year 20th in the nation in WHIP (walks-hits per innings pitched) and his strikeout total was the second most in a single season in program history.
The left-hander led the Big South with a .197 opponent batting average, and for most of 2015, he led the Big South in ERA, before finishing second. In addition, he was second in innings pitched, while completing the year third in wins and strikeouts.
Lyons was named the Big South Pitcher of the Week three times this past season. He also received the same honor from the ECAC three times during 2015.
The pitcher was chosen in the ninth round of 2015 MLB Draft by the Oakland Athletics. The left-hander became the highest Liberty draft pick since outfielder Ian Parmley was taken in the seventh round by the Toronto Blue Jays and John Niggli was selected in the ninth round by the Texas Rangers in 2012.
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