Eric Yardley (Richland, Wash.), the closer for the Seattle University baseball team over the past two seasons, has signed a contract with the San Diego Padres and will report to the organization’s Rookie League squad in Peoria, Ariz., immediately.

Yardley had recently joined the Trinidad Triggers of the independent Pecos League after spending time on the roster of the Taos Blizzard within the same league. He is expected to join the Peoria Padres of the Arizona League in time for Friday’s game against the Arizona Dodgers in Glendale, Ariz.

“This is unreal,” Yardley said soon after receiving the call from one of the Padres’ scouts. “Goosebumps came over me now that I have finally gotten a call to experience a dream I have had for the past 22 years of my life!"

Yardley finished the 2013 season second in the Western Athletic Conference with 11 saves and led the Redhawks with a 2.52 earned run average in 25 appearances, thanks in part to allowing only four walks in 35 2/3 innings. He won the John Kelly Award as the team’s pitcher of the year and was a two-time winner of the Cam Christian Award for the best representation of the Redhawk baseball program on and off the field.

An Academic All-WAC honoree, Yardley received his Bachelor of Arts degree in humanities for teaching last month. He becomes the first Seattle U baseball player to be signed by a Major League Baseball organization since the reestablishment of the baseball program in 2008.

“Although about a half-dozen teams showed interest in possibly choosing Eric in this year’s draft, he was obviously disappointed when he was not taken over the three days. He kept plugging away in independent ball and, because the signing period for drafted players ended last Thursday night, major league teams continue to fill their rosters with undrafted players,” Seattle U head baseball coach Donny Harrel said. “Eric deserved this opportunity, and all of his hard work and dedication has paid off. The nice thing is now his future is in his own hands, and the Padres not only got a heck of a pitcher, they also got an amazing human being.”

The Seattle University baseball team will report to campus in September to begin preparations for the 2013-14 year, the Redhawks’ second within the Western Athletic Conference.

More in Baseball