Rubino running bases

Rubino (almost) re-writes the record book during spectacular season

Francis Marion University senior utility player Matt Rubino earned All-America recognition from two different organizations – first-team honors from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and second-team accolades from Daktronics, Inc. – following a historic 2015 baseball campaign.

Now Rubino is hoping history will provide a launching pad to a professional career.

The Aliquippa, Pa., native joined the Patriots last summer after transferring from the University of North Carolina, where he played two seasons. He only played one season at FMU, but it was a noteworthy campaign.

Rubino finished third in the Peach Belt Conference in hitting (.431), runs batted in (63), triples (4), and on-base percentage (.514), while ranking fourth in doubles (19), total bases (129), and slugging percentage (.713). He led FMU with eight home runs, and his batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage are all second-best in program history; second only to marks set in 1984, 1990, and 1982 respectively. Rubino’s RBI total is the fourth-highest total in team history and only four shy of the school record. He became the first FMU player in seven seasons to hit .400 and only the second player in the past 18 seasons.

If that wasn’t enough, Rubino also stole six bases in 11 attempts, and scored 55 runs in 47 contests. In the field, Rubino started 23 games behind the plate, 17 games at second base, and was the designated hitter on seven occasions. He reached base safely in 43 of 47 games, and posted a 22-game hitting streak. Of his RBI total, 42 came in the Patriot’s 28 conference games.

Rubino on base
Rubino on base

“After having been at a bigger school (UNC), coming to Francis Marion allowed me to focus better on all aspects of college life,” says Rubino. “I believe that is why I performed so well this past year. FMU gave me a better chance to get ready for a possible career in professional baseball.”

Rubino credited his breakout season at FMU to excellent preparation.

“I’d like to think that I prepare myself as well as anybody in the Peach Belt (Conference),” says Rubino. “Coming into the 2015 season, I thought we had a chance to be good, and thus I took on a leadership role. While our final record might not have been what we wanted it to be, a good foundation has been built and I think the program will do some special things in the near future.”

FMU Head Coach Art Inabinet says Rubino helped FMU with his brilliant offensive play, but in other ways as well.

“Matt was a silent, but consistent team leader for us this past year,” says Inabinet. “He helped lead our team by example and through his hard work. His bottom-line goal was to win, and he was willing to sacrifice self-achievement for the good of the team.”

Rubino helped lead Francis Marion to a 28-19 overall record and a seventh-place finish during the 2015 Peach Belt regular season.

This summer, Rubino worked out for both the Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas Rangers organizations this summer. In July, signed a contract with the Florence (Ky.) Freedom of the independent Frontier League. Florence is a Cincinnati suburb.

Rubino is the sixth All-American in the history of the FMU program. Past Patriot All-Americans include pitcher Don Sandifer (2011), shortstop Barrett Kleinknecht (2010), pitcher Dylan Owen (2007, 2006), pitcher and designated hitter Daniel Vizzini (1990), and infielder Mike Wilson (1979).