Big South Well Represented On Baseball All-Region Teams


The Big South had eight players named University Division All-State Baseball honors from the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) on Wednesday, as well as two named All-Atlantic Region by the ABCA and two named All-State by the North Carolina Collegiate Sports Information Association (NCCSIA).

Three Radford players - Eddie Butler, Matt Hillsinger and Jeff Kemp - earned First Team University Division All-State Baseball honors from VaSID, Liberty's Bryan Aanderud, Ian Parmley and John Niggli were also First-Team honorees while Alex Close and VMI's George Piccirilli received second team honors.

Campbell's Michael Felton and Coastal Carolina's Daniel Bowman were honored by the ABCA, while Felton and teammate Jake Kirkland received NCCSIA All-State accolades.

Butler was named the Virginia co-Pitcher of the Year, sharing the award with William & Mary senior Matt Davenport.  He is the first Radford player to earn a Player of the Year award from VaSID since the distinction began in 1992.  Butler, also named the Big South co-Pitcher of the Year, posted a 7-4 record with a 2.20 ERA, striking out 95 batters in 98 innings.

Hillsinger was one of four repeat selections to the team and was the only active player in 2012, state-wide, to earn VaSID honors three times in his career.  Hillsinger was named to the first team in 2010 and the second team in 2011.  A First Team All-Big South selection for the third season in a row, Hillsinger hit .321 in 50 games with eight home runs and 37 RBIs.

Kemp, who will be Radford's only returning all-state selection in 2013, was named to the VaSID team for the first time in his career.  Despite playing in only 47 games, Kemp posted a career year with 48 RBIs and a .536 slugging percentage - both were team highs.  His defense at shortstop anchored the Big South's top fielding team (.978) - the Highlanders were 13th nationally following the College World Series.

All three players were selected in this month's Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft: Butler was the state's highest drafted player when the Colorado Rockies tabbed him 46th overall in the supplemental first round.  Hillsinger was a 22nd round selection of the Oakland A's and Kemp was a 31st round selection of the Los Angeles Angels.

The three First Team VaSID selections were the most for Radford since 1995.

In his first season at Liberty, second baseman Aanderud was named to the Big South All-Conference second team.  The junior led the Flames in batting average, RBIs, hits and on-base percentage in 2012.  The infielder started all 60 Liberty contests this season, posting a .368 batting average with 53 RBIs, 42 runs scored and a .471 on base percentage.  The Fullerton, Calif., native finished the year ranked third in the Big South Conference in batting average, hits, RBIs and on base percentage.  He was also fifth in walks.

Aanderud paced the Flames with 26 multiple-hit games, including nine contests with three or more hits.  In addition, the second baseman led Liberty with 15 multiple-RBI games.  He closed the year with an 11-game hit streak, tying him for the longest by a Flame in 2012.

Parmley earned a place in the All-State first team outfield after hitting .312 with 66 runs scored, 26 RBIs and 30 stolen bases this past season.  The 2012 Big South All-Conference first team outfielder started all 60 games, serving as Liberty's leadoff hitter and posting single-season career highs in runs scored, RBIs, stolen bases, hits (78), doubles (10) and walks (36).

Parmley was 13th in the nation and tied for the Big South Conference lead in runs scored.  He also tied for the conference lead in stolen bases, while ranking fifth in hits and second in walks during his final season.  The senior finished his career with 57 stolen bases, placing him 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.

The Maltby, Wash., native became the highest Liberty draft pick since Jason Jones, who was taken by the New York Yankees in the fourth round of the 2004 MLB Draft.  Parmley was selected in the seventh round of this year's Major League Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays.

Niggli posted a 9-4 record with one save and a 2.17 ERA in 2012, his senior season at Liberty.  The right-hander's nine wins and 2.17 ERA rank fifth on each of Liberty's single-season lists.  The 2012 Big South All-Conference first team selection 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, March 4 & April 16).

Niggli was part of three shutouts, as the Flames set a Big South and school record for blankings in a season with 11.  In two seasons at Liberty, he fashioned a 2.86 career ERA, the lowest for pitchers who pitched 100 or more innings in program history.

He became the highest Liberty pitcher to be taken in the MLB Draft since Jones in 2004. The right-hander was selected in ninth round, becoming the first Flame ever to be picked by the Texas Rangers.

Close, the Big South Freshman of the Year, was selected as the squad's second team first baseman.  The first baseman capped a strong inaugural season at Liberty by being selected to both the 2012 Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team and the NCBWA Freshman All-American team.

The Hoover, Ala., native hit .304 with 36 runs scored, 47 RBIs and 14 home runs this past season.  He led the Big South Conference in home runs, setting new Big South and Liberty records for round trippers by a freshman.  The first baseman also led the Flames with 117 total bases and a .565 slugging percentage.

Playing in 52 games, Close posted 16 multiple-hit games and 14 multiple-RBI contests during the 2012 campaign.  In addition, he posted an 11-game hit streak tying him with Aanderud for the longest consecutive game hit streak by a Flame this past season.

He completed the year by being named to the 2012 Big South All-Tournament team.  Close hit .375 with five RBIs, four runs scored and two home runs over Liberty's four games in the Big South Baseball Championship.

Piccirilli was honored as the second team's designated hitter, marking his first career collegiate postseason honor.  During his final campaign at the Institute, he hit .303 with five home runs.  His season included an early-season 10-game hitting streak, and homering in back to back games for the first time in his career.  Those came March 24 and 25 as part of a three-game sweep of Presbyterian, a set during which Piccirilli hit .500.  He also had the go-ahead double in April 3's win over Richmond, and had two hits, including a home run, in April 6's victory against Winthrop.

The VMI alumnus remains in the Rockbridge County area, as he is currently serving as an assistant coach with the Rockbridge Rapids, a Valley League team based in Lexington.

Felton added to his list of honors with the American Baseball Coaches Association naming the Campbell junior second baseman Second Team All-American and First Team All-Atlantic Region.  Felton, already Campbell's first ever Division I baseball All-American, was also named Second Team All-American by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America last week.

His ABCA All-Atlantic Region honor marks the third time a Camel has garnered the award. Ellis Lowe was the last in 2009, while J.C. Hendrix earned all-region accolades in 1991.

The junior second baseman helped the Camels to a 23-3 start and 18-game winning streak, both marking the best in CU program history.  The Tempe, Ariz. native was the nation's leader in hits (103) prior to the NCAA Tournament, and ranks fourth in batting average with a .424 clip.

The Big South First Team All-Conference honoree finished the season as Campbell's all-time single season leader in hits (103), singles (87) and at-bats (243) after transferring from Gateway Community College.

He was named the league's Player of the Week on May 14 after pounding out 15 hits in five games. Felton had 35 multiple hit games in the regular season, including two four-hit games to lead the Camels to a series sweep over Radford.

Felton led the Big South in batting average (.424) and hits, breaking the conference record with 103.  He also ranked second in on-base percentage (.474) and total bases (124) in the league and tied for fourth in runs scored (52). 

Kirkland earned the all-state nod at designated hitter.  A first-team All-Big South pick, Kirkland led the league with 55 RBI.  He hit a team-high seven home runs while his 19 doubles were the eighth-highest total in program history.

Bowman was named second team All-Atlantic Region, and has signed a free agent contract with the Lake Erie Crushers, joining fellow Chanticleer Rich Witten.

Bowman signed and made his professional debut with the Crushers on June 27, coming off the bench and getting a hit in his first at bat.

The All-Region honor adds to his impressive resume for 2012 which includes being named third team All-American, Big South Baseball Player of the Year, first team All-Big South and All-Bog South Tournament.  Bowman is the 17th Chanticleer to earn ABCA All-Atlantic Region honors and Coastal has now been represented on the team in eight of the last nine years.

The Bridgewater, Va., native had a career year in 2012, batting .401 to rank second in the Big South and 11th in the NCAA.  He additionally ranked 14th nationally in hits (95), 26th in runs scored (62) and 27th in total bases (137).  In the final Big South statistics, he ranked first in total bases, first in on-base percentage, second in overall batting average, second in hits, second in triples, second in slugging percentage, third in runs scored, eighth in stolen bases, ninth in doubles, ninth in home runs.

Bowman was recognized three times during the season for having outstanding performances at the plate.  On March 12, he was selected both the Big South Choice Hotels Player of the Week and NCBWA National Hitter of the Week.  On April May 2, tabbed Bowman the Big South Player of the Week. On April 30, he was once again honored twice, being the Big South Choice Hotels and Southeast Region Player of the Week.

Bowman is the CCU career leader in games played (246), games started (244), at bats (963), hits (309), RBI (206) and total bases (526).  Versus Winthrop (5/11), he became the second player in Big South history with 200 runs scored and 200 RBI in a career.  Later, at the Big South Tournament, Bowman became first player in Big South history with 200 runs, 200 RBI and 300 hits.