JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Justin Frash's five extra-base hits include Hawaii's only home run this season. He also has nine RBIs.
Transfer Frash stepping up for UH
Justin Frash has demonstrated in the first 11 games that he swings the bat with authority from the left side.
That is a need Hawaii coach Mike Trapasso has attempted to fill in recent seasons with limited success.
USC at Hawaii
When: Today and tomorrow, 6:35 p.m.; Sunday, 1:05 p.m.
Where: Les Murakami Stadium
TV: Today and Sunday, live, KFVE, Channel 5
Radio: All games live, KKEA, 1420-AM
Notes: The Trojans lead the series 25-22. ... The teams last met in 1997. UH took two out of three.
Frash takes a .406 average into the weekend series against the Southern California Trojans. The junior college transfer has two doubles, two triples, the only Rainbow home run and nine runs batted in.
"Justin can hit and his approach is just outstanding," Trapasso said. "He has hit everywhere he has been. He centers the ball and hits to all fields.
"He is all business, intense, not a rah-rah guy."
Frash's sense of the strike zone has him leading the team with nine walks.
"I'm not a home run hitter. I'm a gap hitter," said Frash who has been the designated hitter while recovering from injuries to both shoulders.
He tweaked his right shoulder in the weight room during the fall, the same shoulder he injured (torn labrum and rotator cuff) as a high school senior. Then he strained the left shoulder diving into third base with a triple in the second San Diego State game.
The right shoulder is OK and the left is close to 100 percent.
Frash was being recruited by Pepperdine, Nevada, San Diego, Loyola Marymount and Gonzaga as a senior at Camarillo (Calif.) High, but those schools lost interest when he was injured.
"They knew about it and backed off," Frash said. "I still put up good numbers. I had 53 runs batted in and led Ventura County in doubles with 18."
Instead, Frash ended up 15 minutes away at Oxnard Community College, where his father was an assistant coach for the Condors. Roger Frash was the New York Mets' first pick in the first round (second overall) of the 1980 January amateur entry draft, regular phase.
"Since my freshman year in high school, I had gone over there and worked out year 'round," Justin Frash said.
After two years at Oxnard -- where he earned All-Conference honors and was an All-Southern California choice last year -- UCLA, Arkansas, UC Santa Barbara, Western Carolina and UH recruited the 5-foot-10, 190-pound third baseman.
"Hawaii actually was my first trip and I fell in love with the place," said Frash, who did not visit any other schools. "It was Halloween weekend and Greg Kish and Esteban Lopez showed me around.
"It was a great experience. I like hearing the hitting philosophy from Coach Trap. It was the same thing my dad had taught me my whole life."
Frash says there is a transition to Division I baseball -- that everything is a little bit faster -- but he feels playing California JC baseball helped because there are better players and better teams than elsewhere in the country.
"It is a definite jump to another level, but so far I am seeing the ball well," Frash said. "I just have to stay with my swing and not get cheated on any at-bat and help the team win."
He sets goals. The first one is in the classroom.
"That's where it all starts," Frash said. "I always have the goal of helping the team win the conference and go to postseason. Omaha is a factor. We have a good ball club and the chemistry is great."
His father made it to the Triple A level. Frash also has an uncle, Steve Santora, who played his way up to Triple A, and a cousin, Josh Towers, who is a right-handed pitcher with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Note: USC's Josh Fogel, a pitcher/catcher, and shortstop Hector Estrella were Frash's teammates last summer for the Santa Barbara Foresters.