Ex-Corvallis Knights southpaw Daniel Bibona of #1 ranked UC Irvine earns Big West Pitcher of the Year honors

On Tuesday, May 26, the Big West named former Corvallis Knights hurler Daniel Bibona of #1 ranked UC Irvine its 2009 Pitcher of the Year.

Bibona is now the third alum of the West Coast League to be named Pitcher of the Year in a profile conference.

Last week, the Big 12 named last summer’s Moses Lake Pirates ace A.J. Morris of Kansas State its Pitcher of the Year. And the West Coast Conference named Matt Fields of Gonzaga, who pitched for Wenatchee in 2006, WCC Pitcher of the Year.

Bibona, the ace of the Anteaters, led UCI to a 22-2 conference record (43-13 overall, first place in the Big West) and #6 national seed in the NCAA DI tournament that starts today.

Danny also led the Big West in strikeouts with 94 and finished the regular season 11-1 with a 2.65 ERA over 14 starts and 98 1/3 innings pitched.

Collegiate Baseball Newspaper announced yesterday that Bibona had made its All-America team.

The junior from Lake Forest, California pitched for the 2007 Corvallis Knights following his freshman year at UCI.

Bibona worked hard that summer on his change-up with Corvallis pitching coach Trent Baysinger (former University of Washington pitching star and ex-pro).

“When I got to summer ball we worked on my change every day, and one day it just clicked,” said Bibona. To hear more from Danny, click here to listen to Bibona tell the Blue and Gold Report in a May 13, 2008 interview how he turned things around in the summer of 2007.

Daniel went 2-2 with a 2.29 ERA and earned All-WCCBL honorable mention in his one season in Corvallis.

Bibona’s Anteaters are hosting arguably the toughest Regional as UCI was paired with NCAA defending champion Fresno State, Virginia and San Diego State. Danny is the likely starter in Irvine’s tourney opening contest vs. Fresno State this evening.

Danny’s 2007 summer teammate senior Matt Way of Washington State was also honored this week. The southpaw from Sitka, Alaska was named All-Pac-10 as announced by Commissioner Tom Hansen on Wednesday, May 27.

Way (pictured above) went 8-4 with a 2.49 ERA and led Washington State to its first Regional since 1990. The lefty struck out 114 batters over 14 starts and 101 1/3 innings pitched and his 114 strikeouts were second in the Pac-10 and 11th in the nation.

Matt is the probable starter in today’s Regional game vs. Arkansas in Norman, Oklahoma.

The Cougars ace starred for Corvallis in 2007 (5-1, 2.59) and was named first-team All-WCCBL. He was also voted the top prospect at the league’s All-Star Game in Bellingham, Washington by MLB scouts.

Other West Coast League alums named to the All-Pac-10 team were Way’s Cougar teammate senior outfielder Jared Prince (Knights/2006), junior first baseman Dillon Baird (Wenatchee/2007) of University of Arizona and junior outfielder Kyle Conley (Wenatchee/2006) of University of Washington.

Several ex-WCLers were named Pac-10 honorable mention including senior utility man Alex Burg (Corvallis/2008) of Washington State, senior pitcher Jason Erickson (Bend/2006) of University of Washington, senior catcher Greg Lagreid (Spokane/2008) of Washington State, junior pitcher Brian Pearl (Bend/2007) of University of Washington, sophomore infielder Pierce Rankin (Bellingham/2008) of University of Washington, senior outfielder Jake Rife (Bend/2006) of University of Washington and sophomore second baseman Colin Walsh (Kelowna/2008) of Stanford.