San Luis Obispo’s weather is a welcome environment for most students, but for sophomore left fielder Cole Cabrera, it was difficult to adjust to.
“I can’t handle this weather,” Cabrera, a Honolulu, Hawai’i native, said. “I’m so used to sunshine and 80-degree weather … but I love San Luis Obispo. It is my second home.”
Cabrera has played in 51 total games in his two seasons as a Mustang. Over the course of his two seasons, Cabrera has hit a .242 batting average while recording 19 runs batted in. While batting in the No. 8 spot for the Mustangs, Cabrera has had some clutch moments. On March 8, Cabrera hit a walk-off single against Columbia in a 3-2 victory. Against UC Riverside on May 17, Cabrera lead the game with 3 RBI off of two hits.
Playing in the Big West Conference, Cabrera also gets to play baseball in his hometown every other year, when Cal Poly plays the University of Hawai’i.
“I definitely star it on my calendar,” Cabrera said.
Last year, when the Mustangs traveled to Honolulu to face Hawai’i in a three-game series, it was a homecoming for Cabrera. With family and friends in the stands, Cabrera recorded two hits in what he called his two “most nervous” at-bats in his baseball career. As a true freshman, Cabrera hit a RBI double to cap off a 16-0 Cal Poly win on May 4, 2018.
“That was probably one of my best moments playing baseball,” Cabrera said. “Growing up playing there in high school and going to the games as a fan, and coming back as a player and getting the series win at Hawai’i was incredible.”
“When somebody goes back to their hometown and they get to play in front of their family and friends then it is always a good feeling,” head coach Larry Lee said.
Although Cabrera grew up as a fan of the University of Hawai’i and his mother is an alumnus of the university, Cabrera was never recruited or offered by Hawai’i. But Cal Poly brought him in.
“It kind of motivated me to definitely work harder and prove my coaches right,” Cabrera said.
Although Cabrera’s family lives 2,441 miles away from San Luis Obispo, at least one family member tries to get out to Cal Poly home series, whether it is his dad or grandma. This season, when the Mustangs hosted Hawai’i from May 3-5, Cabrera’s “whole family” came out to support him.
“It is really nice to have all my family here and I am just really lucky,” Cabrera said. “They have followed my whole baseball career.”
Despite Cabrera’s family coming up every weekend, he has also found a second family within his team.
“Everyone is part of my big family,” Cabrera said. “I have had teams where I felt really close, but this is probably one of the closest teams I have ever been on.”
And this Cal Poly baseball team has a shot at winning the Big West Conference this season.
Currently, UC Santa Barbara is sitting atop the Big West with a conference record of 18-3. Cal Poly is three games back and sitting in second place. The Mustangs and Gauchos will clash in the season finale starting Friday, May 25.
“We use UCSB as motivation to stay in it,” Cabrera said. “We are grinding and we are in it until the last series.”