Kent State's Eric Lauer finishes season with the lowest ERA for a starter since 1979

usatsi6332868.jpg
Kent State's Eric Lauer posted the lower ERA by a Division I starter in 37 year this season. USATSI

Earlier this week the selection committee announced field of 64 for the 2016 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament. The bracket and regional matchups are right here. The postseason begins Friday.

Kent State did not qualify for the postseason despite going 44-14 overall and 20-4 in in conference play. The Golden Flashes lost the Mid-American Conference Championship to Western Michigan earlier this week, costing them a shot at the College World Series.

So, with Kent State's season over, it means ace left-hander Eric Lauer's season is over as well. Lauer, a junior, went 10-2 on the season with a 0.69 ERA in 104 innings. Yes, a 0.69 ERA. Lauer allowed only eight earned runs (and seven unearned runs) this spring.

That 0.69 ERA is the lowest by a Division I starting pitcher since Chris Rich had a 0.62 ERA in 57 2/3 innings with St. John's back in 1979. It's important to note this is among starters only. Several relievers have had lower ERAs over the last 37 years.

It's possible Rich benefited from some hometown scoring. He was charged with four earned runs and 17 unearned runs that 1979 season. That isn't to say the scorer was biased in favor of Rich, but maybe some questionable calls were made along the way.

Either way, Lauer threw nearly twice as many innings as Rich, which is significant. I think a 0.69 ERA in 104 innings is much more impressive than a 0.62 ERA in 57 2/3 innings, don't you agree? I don't mean that as a knock on Rich. He had an awesome season. What Lauer did is beyond impressive.

As you'd expect, Lauer is a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, the baseball equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. In addition to leading the national in ERA, he also finished second in hits allowed per nine innings (4.2), second in WHIP (0.74), and fifth in strikeouts (125). Lauer also threw a no-hitter against Bowling Green on May 13.

Lauer is expected to be a high pick in next week's amateur draft and could find his name called in the first round. MLB.com ranks him as the 36th best draft prospect in the nation. "While he doesn't have a true out pitch or a lofty ceiling, he may have a higher floor than any left-hander in the 2016 Draft. Lauer projects as a mid-rotation starter," says MLB.com's free scouting report.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories