Former Liberty standouts Artis, Lyons selected to Big South Baseball All-Decade Team
Throughout the month of June, the Big South will be recognizing each sport’s top student-athletes and coaches from the recently completed decade. Liberty wrapped up its 27-year Big South Conference membership on June 30, 2018, departing for the ASUN Conference.
The Flames excelled during their final years of Big South competition, earning seven Sasser Cups and 62 Big South team championships between 2010-18.
A 15-person committee of Big South Conference administrators served as the official voting panel to determine the All-Decade Team, with fan voting comprising 20 percent of the overall total. The 2010-19 Baseball All-Decade Team features six starting pitchers, four relief pitchers, five outfielders, six infielders, one catcher, two utility players, one designated hitter and one head coach. In case of ties, additional honorees were added.
A three-time Big South first team outfielder, Artis was named to several All-America teams and the Big South Player of the Year in 2017. He also was selected to several Freshman All-America squads and voted the Big South Freshman of the Year in 2016.
Artis etched his name in the program’s record books during his three seasons at Liberty (2016-18), before being selected in the seventh round of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs. The outfielder is one of only three Flames with more than 200 hits, 165 runs scored and 65 stolen bases during his career. In addition, he is one of only 21 Flames to collect 200 or more career hits.
The Greensboro, N.C., native closed out his time at Liberty second all-time in runs scored with 173 and tied for second all-time with 72 stolen bases. The outfielder led the Big South in runs scored in both 2017 and 2018.
Artis is the Liberty program leader in walks with 166, 71 more than any player in program history. Artis led the nation with a program-record 62 bases on balls in 2017 and was among the top 10 in the country in walks each of his three seasons as a Flame.
In his three seasons at Liberty (2016-18), Artis hit .339 with 109 RBI and a .495 on base percentage. He collected 211 hits, 38 doubles, nine triples and 12 home runs over 169 games. The outfielder recorded 66 multiple-hit games and 21 games with three or more. During a span that encompassed the 2017-2018 seasons, he reached base safely in 68 consecutive games, the longest such streak in NCAA Division I baseball.
From 2012-15, Lyons anchored the Liberty pitching staffs. The left-hander, a ninth round selection of the Oakland A’s in the 2015 MLB Draft, earned All-American honors in 2015, becoming the first Flames pitcher selected to a postseason NCAA Division I All-America team in program history. In addition, Lyons was voted the 2015 Big South Pitcher of the Year and earned first team all-conference honors.
The Yorktown, Va., native led the conference with a .197 opponent batting average, and for most of 2015, he led the Big South in ERA, before finishing second. In addition, Lyons was second in innings pitched, while completing the year third in both wins and strikeouts. He was named the Big South Pitcher of the Week three times that season. He also received the same honor from the ECAC three times during 2015.
The left-hander posted career highs with an 8-2 mark and a 1.99 ERA over 99 2/3 innings of work in 2015. He made 16 appearances with 13 starts, striking out 100 batters, while walking 22. The senior finished the year 20th in the nation in WHIP (walks-hits per innings pitched) and his strikeout total is currently the third most in a single season in program history.
In his four seasons in a Flames uniform, Lyons posted an 18-10 record with a 2.83 ERA, which is currently second on Liberty’s all-time list, in 78 appearances. He is currently third on the program’s career appearance list and is eighth all-time with 221 strikeouts.