FMU Baseball inks four newcomers for 2020 season

FMU Baseball inks four newcomers for 2020 season

Francis Marion University baseball coach Art Inabinet has announced the signing of three junior college transfers – second baseman and outfielder Vince Hanna of Lake City, right-handed pitcher Daniel Twitty of Sumter, and third baseman Todd Mattox of Winnsboro – and a high school senior – right-handed pitcher Dylan Kuehne of Surfside Beach – to national letters of intent to attend FMU this fall.

Hanna and Twitty come to the Patriots from USC Sumter, while Mattox recently played at USC Lancaster.  All three will have two years of eligibility at Francis Marion.

Hanna, 5-8 and 150 pounds, batted a team-best .374 for the 31-22 Fire Ants this past season.  He scored 38 runs in 44 games and recorded 10 doubles, two triples and one homer, while driving in 18 runs.  He posted a .417 on-base percentage and stole 21 bases in 24 attempts.

As a freshman, he hit .260 with a homer and 18 RBIs and was a perfect 10-for-10 in stolen base attempts.  He helped lead USCS to a 37-23 mark and the NJCAA Region X title.

Hanna was a three-time All-State and four-time All-Region performer at Lake City High School, where he played for coach Matt Apicella.

"Vince had an outstanding sophomore season," Inabinet said.  "He is a versatile athlete, very athletic, and possesses good speed. He projects as a leadoff or 2-hole hitter who will challenge for a starting position somewhere (second base or outfield)."

Twitty, 6-3 and 210 pounds, registered a 1-3 record and a 5.14 earned run average in 2019. He was hampered by a pre-season injury that limited him to only 35 innings.  In his first season, he went 5-2 with a 3.68 ERA and recorded 47 strikeouts in only 51.1 innings of work.  He was a Dean's List student at USCS for his work in the classroom.

He is a graduate of Sumter High School , where he played under the direction of coach Brooks Shumake.  He was a three-year varsity letterman and finished as an honor graduate. He will join for former Gamecock teammate Ryan Moore who recently signed to attend FMU after playing at Florence-Darlington Technical College.

"Daniel pitched well as a freshman, but was hampered this season by a foot injury."  He has a three-pitch mix (fastball, slider, and change-up) and throws in the mid-80s.  I expect him to challenge for one of the four starting positions next spring."

Mattox, 6-0 and 218-pounds, batted .285 with six doubles, seven home runs, and 26 RBIs this past spring for a 30-16 Lancers squad.  He also recorded a .405 on-base percentage and was 11-of-11 in the stolen base category.

As a freshman, he earned second-team All-Region X honors after leading USCL in hitting with a .366 average.  He also scored 33 runs and tallied nine doubles, three homers, and 22 RBIs to go along with a .431 on-base percentage.

Mattox was an All-State selection at Blythewood High School, where he played under the direction of coach Banks Faulkner.  He was twice named to the All-Region team and was picked as the MVP of the 2017 North-South All-Star Game.  He stole 15 bases as a senior, and was named to the honorable mention All-Midlands Team by The State newspaper in 2017.

"Todd is a good defensive player with excellent arm strength.  He increased his power numbers this past season at Lancaster. He projects to hit in the middle of our line-up and will change for the starting nod at the hot corner next spring."

Kuehne, 6-0 and 195 pounds, is a senior at Socastee High School, where he played for former Patriot pitcher and Francis Marion graduate Curtis Hudson.  This past season, he posted a 3-3 mark with a 2.66 ERA and 32 strikeouts against only eight walks in 29 innings of work.

"Dylan can throw four pitches for strikes, with a fastball between 83-and-85 miles per hour.  He projects as a starter for us and will very likely log innings as a freshman."

"All four of these student-athletes are in-state products and continue our philosophy of targeting the best of the Florence and Pee Dee areas, as well as the Palmetto State."

Inabinet previously announced the signing of four high school seniors – shortstop/right-handed pitcher Jack Hegan of Bluffton, S.C., left-handed pitcher Noah Henderson of Dillon, S.C., outfielder Carson Jones of Fort Mill, S.C., and corner infielder/outfielder/right-handed pitcher Thomas Umphlett of Charlotte, N.C. – along with three junior college transfers: outfielder Mitch Long of Lebanon, Pa., infielder Ryan Moore of Sumter, S.C., and right-handed pitcher Chad Wallen of Brunswick, Ga.

This past season's Patriot squad posted a 10-win improvement over the previous season with a 28-21 mark, and FMU placed sixth during the 2019 Peach Belt Conference regular season.