May 21—When it comes to rebounding from losing four road games in a row to Cal State Northridge, Hawaii baseball coach Mike Trapasso is taking the fuhgettaboutit approach.
“We played so poorly in all phases last weekend, there’s nothing to talk about, ” said Trapasso, whose Rainbow Warriors open a four-game series against UC San Diego today at Les Murakami Stadium. “The reality is, we’re better off flushing that weekend and moving on.”
Trapasso said he has “passed that ” early phase of his career when he would display demonstrative frustration over setbacks.
“That doesn’t bring any effect other than raising my blood pressure, ” Trapasso said. “I’m a lot less of a yeller than I used to be. The reality is, with this group of guys, we’re all on the same page. They’re a good group of guys. They’re self-starters. They understand. They know what’s going on. They’re not oblivious to the fact that we played so poorly (against CSUN ). The guys were frustrated and disappointed with their performances. I don’t need to yell or give them a pep talk. We just need to prepare for this week and play well. The guys know the drill. They’re smart and self-starters and they’re very understanding of what they need to do.”
The’Bows will get a boost from the return of utility player Matt Campos. Campos is the primary understudy to first baseman Alex Baeza, who did not play against CSUN because of a hamstring issue. Baeza is expected to be available in some capacity this weekend, but probably not to play in all four games. Trapasso said Campos will start at first if Baeza is not ready or needs to rest.
“That’s a big lift, ” Trapasso said of Campos. “He can help us in multiple positions. He brings some energy. I’m happy for him, being a senior.”
Trapasso said freshman outfielder /first baseman Safea Villaruz-Mauai probably will not play in the’Bows’ eight remaining games. Villaruz-Mauai has bone chips in his left elbow that have impacted his swing. Trapasso said Villaruz-Mauai likely will have surgery to remove the chips.
“He’s been grinding through the pain like a champ, ” Trapasso said. “But it’s gotten to the point where it’s really affected his swing. We’re going to shut him down and try to get the surgery as soon as possible.”
Villaruz-Mauai will be the sixth’Bow unable to finish the season because of an injury. Dustin Demeter missed 13 games because of a foot injury but is back in the lineup as a designated hitter. Left-handed pitcher Brandon Ross has returned to the mainland and is preparing to undergo elbow surgery. Ross’ rehab likely will extend through the 2022 season.
The’Bows will go with the starting rotation of Aaron Davenport today, Cade Halemanu and Austin Teixeira on Saturday, and Logan Pouelsen for Sunday’s home finale. Trapasso said Halemanu, who was rocked against CSUN, still projects to be taken in the middle of July’s 20-round Major League Baseball draft for first-year players. Halemanu, whose fastball can touch 96 mph, is not on scholarship.
Trapasso cautioned that UCSD has played well recently. The Tritons have won six of seven, and have hit 40 home runs in 44 games.
“They’ve got some big, strong guys who can hit for power, ” Trapasso said. “We’re going to have to pitch well, and score in more than three innings to match any scoring they have.”
The’Bows scored in three of 34 innings against CSUN.