Francis Marion University baseball coach Art Inabinet has announced the signing of three junior college transfers – infielder Tyler Mangum of Durham, N.C., first baseman Darius Nobles of Greenville, N.C., and right-handed pitcher Bailey Wendel of Oviedo, Fla. – to national letters of intent to attend FMU this fall.
Mangum comes to FMU from USC Sumter, while Nobles played at Louisburg College and Wendel at Eastern Florida State College. All three will have two years of eligibility at Francis Marion. Mangum will join 2019 USC Sumter teammates (INF-OF) Vince Hanna and (RHP) Daniel Twitty as newcomers on the 2020 FMU squad.
Mangum, 6-2 and 170 pounds, hit .313 with a team-high 12 doubles for the 31-22 Fire Ants this past season. He scored 32 runs in 51 games, recorded two homers and 29 runs batted in, and posted a .401 on-base percentage. He also earned a NJCAA Region X Gold Glove at third base.
As a freshman, he hit .308 with 14 doubles, a homer, and 28 RBIs as USCS went 37-23 and won the Region X title.
Mangum is a graduate of Northern Durham High School, where he played for coaches Greg Pruitt and Christian Tardieu. A four-time first-team All-Conference selection, he batted .282 in 82 career games with 86 runs scored, six homers, and 37 RBIs.
"Tyler is very athletic and can play any of the infield positions," Inabinet said. "He was a two-year starter for coach (Tim) Medlin at USC Sumter and produced good numbers. His versatility will allow him to challenge for any of a number of starting positions, and he could hit anywhere from third to sixth in our line-up."
Nobles, 6-0 and 245 pounds, batted .292 with five doubles, eight home runs, and 30 RBIs in 2019. He served as team captain and recorded a .566 slugging percentage and a .400 on-base percentage, while fielding at a .980 clip over 203 chances.
As a freshman, he hit .264 with four homers and 14 runs batted in for a 31-22 Hurricane squad. He also spent a red-shirt season at UNC Pembroke before landing at Louisburg.
Nobles is a product of J.H. Rose High School, where he played for coaches Ronald Vincent and Clay Medlin. As a senior, he garnered honorable mention All-County honors from The Daily Reflector after batting .328 with four doubles, two homers, 12 RBIs, and a .446 on-base percentage. He was also named his team's top offensive player that year.
He also played with the Pitt County Post 39 American Legion program, where he earned Player of the Year honors in 2016.
"Darius put together two good years at Louisburg playing for coach Blake Herring. He is big and strong, has good plate discipline, and is a tough out at the plate. We expect him to play first base or DH and bat fourth or fifth in the line-up."
Wendel, 6-0 and 185-pounds, notched a 3-0 mark with one save and a 3.34 earned run average in 15 appearances this past spring. Opponents hit only .173 against him and he struck out 46 batters in only 35 innings for a nine-inning average of 11.83. He helped lead the Titans to a 31-20 record.
As a freshman, he was 1-0 with a 5.89 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 18.1 innings of work.
Wendel is a graduate of Hagerty High School, where he played for coaches Matt Cleveland and Jared Goodwin. In three seasons, he produced a 14-2 mark with five saves. He helped lead the Huskies to back-to-back Class 8A championship game appearances in 2016 and 2017. Hagerty was 26-10 in 2017 as Wendel went 7-2 on the mound.
"Bailey throws in the mid 80's and has a three-pitch mix. We expect him to help us in long relief out of the bullpen in 2020."
Inabinet previously announced the signing of five high school seniors and six junior college transfers for the 2019-20 school year.
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.