Liberty pitcher Keegan Linza has been named to the VaSID University Division All-State Baseball second team, the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) announced late last evening.
Linza, who completed his final season this spring with the Flames, was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 38th round of the Major League Draft and is currently on the roster of the Bristol White Sox of the Appalachian League (Rookie). The right-hander was one of seven Flames taken during the 2011 MLB Draft, the most players chosen in a single draft in the 38-year history of the program. Previously, the Flames had five players taken in the 2002 Draft. In addition, Liberty ties the 2007 and 2010 Coastal Carolina squads for the Big South Conference record of seven players picked in a single draft. Liberty has had 47 players drafted in program history.
Linza went 11-3 in 2011, tying him with Jason Jones (2004) for Liberty's single-season win record. The right-hander ranked sixth in the country and led the Big South in victories. He struck out a career-high 67 batters and allowed 22 walks. A 2011 first team Big South all-conference and a Big South Baseball Championship All-Tournament team member, Linza also led the Big South with 108 innings pitched and posted the second-best ERA in the conference (2.08). His 2011 ERA ranks as the fourth-best and his innings pitched were the fifth-highest in program history for a single season. In addition, Linza became the first Liberty pitcher to throw five complete games in a campaign since Michael Solbach went the distance five times in 2005.
Liberty went 35-24 in 2011. The Flames won 30 or more games for the seventh consecutive season, the longest such streak in program history.
James Madison catcher Jake Lowery, a first-team Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America All-American and a finalist for the Johnny Bench award, was the named the state's Player of the Year. Virginia's Danny Hultzen, a unanimous first-team All-American, two-time ACC Pitcher of the Year and a first round draft pick of the Seattle Mariners, was selected as the Pitcher of the Year for the second consecutive year. Virginia head coach Brian O'Connor was voted the Coach of the Year, while VCU freshman outfielder Bill Cullen was voted Rookie of the Year.
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