Dec. 16, 2009
As 2009 comes to a close, GoHuskies.com will be taking a look back at some of the great Husky athletics accomplishments of the past calendar year. Over the next few weeks, we'll present a great moment from '09 each day. Make sure to have your say on your favorite memory of 2009 here.
Top Husky Moments Of 2009: Conley's Big Day
Even Kyle Conley would agree that, through much of his career at the UW, he was a bit streaky at the plate. The good part of that was that when Conley, a slugging right fielder from Richland, Wash., got hot, there was no one hotter.
One such instance came early in the 2009 baseball season.
It was Sunday, March 8, and the Diamond Dawgs were in Reno to take on the Nevada Wolf Pack in the third game of a three-game series. The teams had split the first two.
Not surprisingly for a place like Reno in early March, it was cold, crisp and very clear at Peccole Park, which sits on a hill overlooking the casinos of "The Biggest Little City In the World." On that afternoon, Conley put on a display worthy of casino showrooms beyond the outfield fence.
After drawing a walk in his first plate appearance, Conley came up with the Dawgs trailing 1-0 in the third. With Andy Bethel and Pierce Rankin aboard on singles, he belted a home run to straightaway center, giving the UW a 3-1 lead.
Nevada drew even with two runs in the fourth but, in the fifth, Conley was back at the plate again. This time, he blasted a two-run homer deep to left, giving the Huskies the lead once again.
Conley came up again in the seventh. This time, Rankin was standing at third, thanks to a one-out triple. Conley's bid for a third homer was a long blast headed out to center field. But, it was caught by the Wolf Pack's leaping center fielder up against the fence, just shy of leaving the yard. Rankin scored easily on the long fly.
Conley's last at bat led off the top of the ninth inning. This time, he had the distance as he slammed a solo homer to left field.
Washington won, 7-4. Conley had hit three home runs and, thanks to the sacrifice fly, he had driven in all seven runs, both remarkable feats in their own right.
Not surprisingly, Conley was named Pac-10 Player of the Week. He went on to hit 19 round-trippers on the year and finished his Husky tenure tied for the school record with 42 homers.
Conley was named first-team All-Pac-10 for the second straight season and was then drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh round of the big league draft.