Ian Parmley, John Niggli and Blake Forslund
The Liberty Flames baseball program had three players selected during the second day of the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft, Tuesday. The Toronto Blue Jays selected outfielder Ian Parmley in the seventh round, while the Texas Rangers took pitcher John Niggli in the ninth round of the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft. The Arizona Diamondbacks selected pitcher Blake Forslund in the 15th round, the final round of the day. With the selections of the trio, Liberty has had 49 players selected in the 39-year history of its program and had a player selected in every draft since 2000. Parmley, who completed his career as a Flame this spring, becomes the highest Liberty draft pick since Jason Jones was taken by the New York Yankees in the fourth round of the 2004 MLB Draft. The 235th pick of the draft, he becomes the second player in Liberty history to be selected by the Blue Jays. Left-hander Ryan Page was drafted by the same team in 20th round in 2008. Parmley earned Big South All-Conference first team honors this past season, starting every game and serving leadoff hitter for the 41-19 Flames. The outfielder hit .312 with 66 runs scored, 26 RBIs and 30 stolen bases this past season. The Maltby, Wash., native posted single-season career highs in runs scored, RBIs, stolen bases, hits (78), doubles (10) and walks (36) during the 2012 season.
Parmley tied for the Big South Conference lead in runs scored and stolen bases, while ranking fifth in hits and second in walks. He finished his career with 57 stolen bases, placing the senior sixth on Liberty's all-time stolen bases list. In addition, his 66 runs scored during 2012 are the second most in a single season by a Flame. Niggli, who completed his Flames' career this past season, becomes the highest Liberty pitcher to be taken in the MLB Draft since Jones in 2004. The 306th selection of the draft, the right-hander becomes the first Flame ever to be taken by Rangers.
Niggli posted a 9-4 record with one save and a 2.17 ERA in 2012. His nine wins and 2.17 ERA rank fifth on each of Liberty's single-season lists. He led the Big South with 103 2/3 innings pitched, while ranking second in the conference in wins and fourth in ERA. The Tulare, Calif., native was selected the Big South Pitcher of the Week three times during the year. (Feb. 19, Mar. 4 & Apr. 16).
This past year, Niggli was part of three shutouts, as the Flames set a Big South and school record for blanking in as season with 11. In two seasons at Liberty, Niggli fashioned a 2.86 career ERA, the lowest for pitchers who pitched 100 or more innings in Liberty history. Forslund, the 483rd player selected in the 2012 MLB Draft, worked exclusively out of the Flames bullpen in 2012. The right-hander, who was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 17th round of the 2011 Draft, becomes the third player selected by Arizona in program history. The Diamondbacks took third baseman Tyler Bream 42nd round in 2011 and right-hander Michael Solbach in both the 2006 (48th) and 2007 (19th) Drafts.
In his second year at Liberty after transferring from Virginia in 2010, Forslund made 20 appearances in 2012, recording a 2-2 with a 3.74 ERA over 33 2/3 innings. The right-hander struck out 34 and walked 34. One of his 2012 wins came against his former team. The Rustburg, Va., native pitched 3 2/3 scoreless, hitless inning in Liberty's 8-0 win over then No. 14 Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., on Feb. 28.
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