June 10, 2009
SEATTLE - Several Huskies heard their names called today during the second day of the Major League Baseball draft. Husky right fielder Kyle Conley was drafted by the Cardinals in the seventh round, reliever Brian Pearl was taken by the Reds in the ninth and starting pitcher Jason Erickson went to Pittsburg in the 24th round.
Additionally, Husky starting quarterback Jake Locker, who has never played baseball at the UW, but did play summer ball last year in Bellingham, was chosen by the Angels with the final selection of the 10th round.
Rounds four through 30 were held Wednesday. The final 20 rounds of the draft will take place Thursday.
Conley, a fourth-year junior from Richland, Wash., was the 219th overall selection. After the 2008 season, he had been drafted by the Dodgers in the 16th round (487th overall), but jumped up nine rounds this time around.
This season, Conley earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors for the second straight year. He batted .303 with 19 homers and 55 RBI, leading the UW in both of the latter two categories. Conley's 19 homers (he also hit 19 in 2008) were third most in UW single-season history and his 42 career round-trippers tied him for the Husky record.
Conley was pleased with the outcome. "I was really happy to get selected by the Cardinals," he said. "I've heard nothing but good things about their organization. I look forward to working up through their system. The draft is cool, but it's not about the draft. It's about working your way up to the Majors."
Conley, who has only one more quarter's worth of work to do before earning his degree, said that he was listening to the draft over the internet when his name was called.
"I set my alarm for 8:57 a.m. [the draft started at 9:00 a.m.], and rolled over and turned on my computer and just listened," he said.
Pearl, a junior from Cascade High in Everett, was formerly a shortstop and third baseman for the Dawgs, but spent the 2009 season exclusively as a pitcher. He was the 269th overall pick in the draft.
Pearl was the UW's primary closer in 2009, leading the team with eight saves and a 3.05 earned run average. He made 23 appearances, including two starts.
Erickson, a senior right-hander from Bonney Lake, Wash., was drafted out of high school by the Reds in the 45th round of the 2006 draft.
In 2009, Erickson went 5-4 with a 4.34 earned run average. He pitched in 14 games, starting 11, and earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention.
Locker was drafted by the Angels in the 40th round of the 2006 draft, following his senior year at Ferndale (Wash.) High School, but didn't sign. College football players may sign contracts with professional baseball teams and still retain college eligibility in football, though they have to forfeit their scholarship. Baseball contracts, however, commonly cover the cost of college.
One incoming Husky baseball signee was selected. Eric Peterson, who just completed his senior year at Liberty High in Renton, was chosen by Kansas City in the 28th round. If he doesn't agree to a contract with the Royals, he'll enroll at the UW in the fall.
Lastly, former Husky Kirk Wetmore, a left-handed pitcher from Tahoma High who spent the 2008 season with the Dawgs but transferred to Bellevue (Wash.) CC for the 2009 season, was chosen by the Indians in the 11th round.
The last 20 rounds of the 50-round draft will take place Thursday.