Laurie Bollig

UC Irvine’s Andrew Morales sets good example for family

by Laurie Bollig June 20, 2014 in Baseball


When All-American pitcher Andrew Morales from the University of California, Irvine graduated earlier this month with a degree in public health policy, he became only the second member of his large extended family to earn a college degree.

When the Covina, California, native won the Senior CLASS Award earlier this month, he became the second Anteater in four years to win the nation’s most prestigious award for senior student-athletes. Former UC Irvine pitcher and current Anteater pitching coach Daniel Bibona was the 2010 Senior CLASS Award winner.

“As a fellow winner, I understand what it means and what a special award it is,” Bibona said. “Andrew is well-deserving of it and exemplifies everything the award stands for, on and off the field.”

Morales, a 2014 Big West Scholar-Athlete, interned with the local fire department and hopes to pursue a career as a paramedic after his baseball career is finished. In the community, Morales volunteered at the Build-a-Bear store and gave stuffed animals to patients at children’s hospitals in Orange County and Los Angeles. But Bibona points to Morales’s sister as his inspiration to be a good person and give back. Morales’s sister battled acute lymphoblastic leukemia and has been his biggest supporter.

“When I think of Andrew, I think of a young man who puts others before himself. He is not just a great teammate who would do or be there for anyone on the team, but every time he steps on the field, he is trying to impress his hero, his younger sister,” Bibona said. “I think that part of being a good leader is not always doing what is easy. This is something that I never have to worry about when thinking about Andrew. He will always go the extra mile not just to be good but to be great, not just on the field but to make sure his teammates are doing things the right way as well. It is not always easy to hold your peers accountable and to do and act the way that they are supposed to, and I think that his willingness to take on that responsibility says a lot about Andrew.”
Entering the NCAA College World Series, Morales had an 11-2 record and an earned-run average of just 1.53 and was among the nation’s leaders in strikeouts with 141. The right-handed pitcher was holding opposing teams to a .185 batting average. He was named to several All-American teams and was the 2014 Big West Pitcher of the Year.

“It is an honor I share with my coaches, teammates and all those who have mentored me,” Morales said. “To be recognized for the Senior CLASS Award is something that I feel is a very prestigious accomplishment.”