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Flames Baseball celebrates two players headed to the big leagues

Fraser Ellard

With the selection of Fraser Ellard and Will Wagner in last week’s Major League Baseball Draft, Liberty University’s baseball team has now had 73 players drafted during the 48-year history of its program.

The Flames have had at least one player chosen in each draft since 2000 with the exception of last year’s, which was limited to five rounds due to COVID-19.

The Chicago White Sox chose pitcher Fraser Ellard in the eighth round with the 245th pick of the draft. In his only season at Liberty, Ellard was named to the ASUN All-Conference First Team. The transfer from Lander University posted a 0-1 record with a 3.65 ERA and team-high seven saves in a team-high 26 appearances, all but one in relief, ranking him second in the ASUN in both categories.

“It’s kind of surreal still,” Ellard said in an interview with LFSN’s Nick Pierce. “(I’m) so thankful to the Lord Jesus for blessing me and having me here in such an unreal circumstance.”

Ellard struck out 63 and walked 13 over 44 1/3 innings. The Roswell, Ga., native held opponents to a .212 batting average and posted a 1.24 WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched). The left-hander had the most strikeouts of any relief pitcher in the conference.

Will Wagner

On the third and final day of the draft, the Houston Astros selected second baseman Will Wagner in the 18th round with the 538th pick. Wagner follows in his father’s footsteps to Houston; Billy Wagner, a pitcher, was chosen by the Astros in the 1993 MLB Draft. The seven-time All-Star ranks sixth all-time in saves and spent the first nine years of his career with the organization.

Will Wagner was selected to the ASUN All-Conference First Team for the second time this season as a unanimous selection both years. He hit .333 with a team-leading 52 RBI and 32 runs scored in 53 games in 2021, all starts. He totaled 70 hits, including16 doubles, three triples, and seven home runs with a .399 on-base percentage and a .538 slugging percentage. He was named an ASUN Player of the Week in April.

Wagner collected 20 multi-hit games and led Liberty with 14 multi-RBI contests in 2021. The Crozet, Va., native had a 10-game hitting streak and reached base safely in 16 consecutive games at one point during the season. In the field, he had an outstanding .989 fielding percentage, committing two errors in 176 chances.

Wagner led the ASUN Conference in RBIs and finished among the conference leaders in batting average (sixth), hits (third), doubles (tied for fourth) and slugging percentage (eighth).