Liberty Head Coach Jim Toman
Liberty Baseball has announced the signing of eight student-athletes to National Letters of Intent during the November 10-17 early signing period. "We are very blessed to have signed these eight young men," stated Flames head coach Jim Toman. "We look forward to them joining the Liberty family in the fall of 2011. "Each of them has a chance at being contributors early in their careers. We will continue to evaluate our needs for the 2012 season and more than likely will add a few more recruits to this class during the spring signing period." Liberty is coming off a record-setting 2010 season which saw the Flames break school records for wins (42) and conference wins (19). The program was recently cited by Rivals.com as one of the top 10 rising college baseball programs in the nation. The 2011 Liberty Flames baseball squad will open its season on Feb. 18 in Macon, Ga., against defending Atlantic Sun Champion Mercer. The Flames will host Binghamton on March 4 in their first home contest of the year, with game time scheduled for 3 p.m.
The following are Toman's thoughts on the program's signees:
Jacob Barber 5-11, 205, C, R/R Davie County HS Mocksville, N.C.
2010 stats – .356, 7 HRs, 6 2Bs, 29 RBIs Ranked sixth-best catcher and top 50 overall prospect in N.C. for 2011 2010 All-Central Piedmont Conference, Most Outstanding Offensive Player first team 2010 NC State Games 2010 All-Central Piedmont Conference in Football (Linebacker) "Barber is a strong, physical catcher with some power potential. He is also a very good thrower from behind the plate, with a strong and accurate arm. He will have a chance to be an above average catcher at this level due to his advanced ability to throw out base stealers." Houston Barnes 5-11, 200, RHP, R/R East Columbus HS Lake Waccamaw, N.C. 2010 stats – 4-2 W/L, 42.1 IP, 2.31 ERA, 37 H, 61K 2010 Columbus County Player of the Year 2010 All-Three Rivers Conference honorable mention 2010 North Carolina State Games "Barnes is a strong right-handed pitcher with an outstanding curveball. He is a bulldog on the mound, who likes to compete. His above average breaking pitch will give him an opportunity to vie for innings as a freshman." Alex Close 6-3, 215, C/1B/RHP, R/R Spain Park HS Hoover, Ala. 2010 stats - .446 BA, 7 2Bs, 4 HRs, 6 SBs, 4-1 W/L, 3.20 ERA, 24 IP, 28 K (stats from Milton HS, Ga.) 2010 Region 6-AAAAA first team "Close is a strong, physical kid who has a chance to help at three positions( catcher, first base and pitcher) during his freshman year. He has above average power potential at the plate and also possesses a high ceiling on the mound. He is an outstanding student who will undoubtedly flourish in the Christian environment here at Liberty." Shawn Clowers 6-1, 165, LHP/OF, L/L Tunstall HS Axton, Va. 2010 stats – 7-0 W/L, 1.20 ERA 2010 All-Piedmont District team 2010 All-Region IV second team 2010 Commonwealth Games Participant "Clowers is a two-way player who has a chance to compete for innings as a pitcher and in the outfield. On the mound, the left-hander features a fastball in the mid-80's with an above average curveball. His quick arm gives him a very high ceiling as a pitcher. He also possesses a good swing, which will give him a chance to earn playing time as a corner outfielder."
Jeremy Fitzgerald 6-0, 185, RHP, R/R Patrick Henry CC Stuarts Draft, Va.
2010 stats – 7-3 W/L, 3.95 ERA, 70.2 IP, 71 H, 81K 2010 All-Region X first team
"A 38th-round draft pick in the 2010 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs, Fitzgerald has a chance to be a member of the starting rotation. He throws in the range of 88-92 mph with his fastball and has good spin on his breaking ball. Our coaching staff looks for him to step in and immediately make an impact."
Carson Herndon 6-4, 190, 3B/1B/RHP, R/R Davie County HS Salisbury, N.C. 2010 stats - .372, 6 HRs, 9 2Bs, 9 SBs, 21RBIs 2010 All-Central Piedmont 4A Conference first team North Carolina State Games Participant All-Central Piedmont 4A Conference Football Team (QB) "Herndon is a big physical corner infielder and right-handed pitcher with a tremendous upside. He has a lot of offensive potential and has a chance to contribute on the mound as well. Herndon is also a coach's son who has been around the game all his life, which will certainly help him as he begins playing at the Division I level in college." Jared Lyons 6-1, 170, LHP, L/L Tabb HS Yorktown, Va.
2010 stats – 4-0 W/L, 2.28 ERA, 31 IP, 36 K 2010 All Bay-Rivers District second team "Lyons has shown an ability to throw strikes consistently. The left-handed pitcher has reached up to 87 mph with his fastball. A classic left-handed thrower who can throw three different pitches for strikes at any time in the count, Lyons possesses above average fastball command. He has a good delivery with a talent to induce soft contact by the hitter."
Adam Parks 6-3, 200, RHP, R/R St. Michaels HS Easton, Md.
2010 stats – 7-2 W/L, 0.76 ERA, 55.1 IP, 96 K, 20 H 2010 All-Bayside Conference first team 2010 All-State Team 2010 Team Maryland Selection – top 20 juniors and seniors in the state
"Parks throws in the 86-89 mph range as a pitcher and hit .451 with four home runs, six doubles and 29 RBIs last season. He helped lead St. Michaels to the state championship in 2010, allowing one hit and striking out 15 batters. Parks led St. Michaels on the mound to win the Maryland state title as a freshman in 2008. That year, he was the Bayside Conference Player of the Year and has been selected all-conference first team each of his three seasons. A solid right handed pitcher with a projectable body, he will have a chance to compete for time on the mound immediately."
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