Daily 49er

James Ennis makes Miami Heat roster, former LBSU Dirtbags shine in MLB

Several former 49ers continue to make names for themselves in the month of October.

Josh Barajas, Sports Editor

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Keeping his talents in South Beach

The Heat's James Ennis grabs a rebound in the first half against the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014.

Jim Rassol | Sun Sentinel | TNS
The Heat’s James Ennis grabs a rebound in the first half against the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014.

When the Miami Heat’s training camp started, former LBSU men’s basketball star James Ennis was on the outside looking in for a roster spot. He had a disastrous Summer League where he shot 29.7 percent from the field, 8.7 percent from the three-point line, and had 23 turnovers in seven games.

On Saturday, the Heat cut their roster down to the league-max 15 players and Ennis found himself still on the team. The small forward made the cut after shooting 47.2 percent from the field in six preseason games; that included a 19-point performance on 8-13 shooting against Atlanta on Oct. 18.

The ex-49er dislocated his finger against New Orleans on Friday, but Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald said the injury would not keep Ennis off the court for long.

First of many?

The San Francisco Giants' Matt Duffy, left, and Willie McCovey after Duffy won the annual Willie Mac Award.

The San Francisco Giants’ Matt Duffy, left, and Willie McCovey after Duffy won the annual Willie Mac Award.

San Francisco Giants third baseman, and former Long Beach State Dirtbag, Matt Duffy wrapped up his impressive rookie season on Oct. 4.

Duffy finished with a .295 batting average, 169 hits (the most among National League rookies), 77 runs and 77 runs batted in. He is considered a contender for the 2015 N.L. Rookie of the Year Award alongside the Cubs’ Kris Bryant and the Dodgers’ Joc Pederson. However, Duffy already has an award to his name this season.

On Oct. 2, Duffy won the 2015 Willie Mac Award, given annually to the most inspirational player on the Giants. Players, coaches, training staff and fans vote on the award named after Hall of Famer Willie McCovery. The ex-Dirtbag is the first rookie to receive the award in its 35 year-history.

Dirtbags put the LB in MLB 

Troy Tulowitzki hits a three-run double against the Kansas City Royals in the sixth inning during Game 5 of the ALCS.

Shane Keyser | Kansas City Star | TNS
Troy Tulowitzki hits a three-run double against the Kansas City Royals in the sixth inning during Game 5 of the ALCS.

During October, the hashtag #PuttingtheLBinMLB was circulating on Twitter after six former Dirtbags, the most in the major league from any school, made it to the postseason. None shined more than Troy Tulowitzki and Marco Estrada with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Estrada got three starts in the playoffs and put together a 2-1 record with a 2.33 ERA. His most impressive start came in game five of the ALCS where he threw for 7.2 innings allowing only one run on three hits.

Tulowitzki only hit .205 in the postseason, but had some big moments to propel the Jays’ deep run. On Oct. 11, the former LBSU shortstop went 2-3 with a three-run homerun and four RBI in game 3 of the ALDS. Tulowitzki then went 2-4 in game three of the ALCS with another homerun and three RBI and went 2-4 again in game five with another three RBI.

The Kansas City Royals eliminated the Blue Jays in six games, much to the benefit of another former Dirtbag.

Dirtbag in the Fall Classic

Kansas City Royals pitcher Jason Vargas throws against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday, July 21, 2015.

John Sleezer | Kansas City Star | TNS
Kansas City Royals pitcher Jason Vargas throws against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday, July 21, 2015.

All of the ex-LBSU ball players crashed out of the postseason except one. Left-hander Jason Vargas is currently a Kansas City Royal, however his season ended on July 21 after he tore his ulnar ligament in his elbow in a start against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Vargas will still receive a ring if the Royals win the World Series. His only highlight this postseason came when teammate Jonny Gomes swung his daughter into Vargas’ infant child’s head after Kansas City clinched a trip to the ALCS on Oct. 14. Look it up on YouTube.

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