Major League Baseball’s 60-game regular season has concluded and four Kent State baseball alumni have advanced to the postseason.

Kent’s baseball program led the Mid-American Conference by a wide margin.

The University of Akron, Bowling Green State University, Ball State University, Eastern Michigan University and Central Michigan University all saw only one alumni make the playoffs.

Travis Shaw of the Toronto Blue Jays, who were bounced from the American League Wild Card round, is a six-year veteran. 

In 2011, Shaw’s junior season, he led the MAC with 14 home runs in 62 games. He was named first-team All-MAC in 2011, before being drafted in the ninth round of the MLB draft by the Boston Red Sox.

Eric Lauer was a first-round pick in 2016 to the San Diego Padres who traded him to the Milwaukee Brewers, where he started two games this season. Lauer finished his junior season with a .069 ERA, the lowest in college baseball since 1979. He won the National Pitcher of the Year Award.

After undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2010, Andrew Chafin posted a 2.02 ERA with 105 strikeouts over 89 innings for the Golden Flashes in 2011. Chafin was drafted in the first round of the 2011 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks where he played six seasons before being traded this year to the Chicago Cubs, who are also now out of the postseason.

After transferring three times, right-handed pitcher Taylor Williams wound up at Kent State. 

With the Flashes, Williams pitched to a 10-1 record with a 2.47 ERA and 110 strikeouts. He was named to first-team MAC honors and was drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB draft. He was sent to the Padres at the trade deadline.

The Golden Flashes are well represented on baseball’s biggest stage, standing alongside much larger schools by sending four players to the postseason.

The other schools with four players in the playoffs were UCLA, the University of South Carolina, Oregon State University, and Auburn University.

Kent State beat out powerhouses like the University of Alabama and University of Miami (Florida).

Now those former Flashes will play against each other for the chance to win the Commissioner’s Trophy.

Nicholas Pedone is a sports reporter. Contact him at npedone1@kent.edu.

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Hi, I’m Lauren Sasala, a senior journalism student from Toledo. I’m also the editor in chief of The Kent Stater and KentWired this semester. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important news about Kent State and the Kent community. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate.

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