It is the top of the fifth inning with one out and a runner on third base and BYU Baseball pitcher Easton Walker is able to pull off the miracle.
Normally, when you hear ‘Earned Runs Allowed’ (ERA) in baseball a good number is anything less than a 3.00. In fact, that would put you nationally in the top 15% of pitchers in the NCAA.
To those who don’t understand ERA, the rule is you take the amount of earned runs multiply that by nine and then divide it by the amount of innings pitched. So if a player allows two earned runs in six innings the ERA would be 3.00.
That isn’t good enough for Easton Walker.
When Easton Walker was called out to pitch on March 15th against rival Gonzaga, he was faced with what appeared to be an almost guaranteed end to his perfect 0.00 ERA through 16 innings pitched. There was a runner on third base with only one out. Instead it turned into a double play that ended the inning and kept the streak alive.
Now you may wonder why this would count against his ERA if it was not a player that he pitched against, and it may not have, but there are rules in baseball that if a certain number of players reached base while he was pitching, the run would end up going against Walker. Nobody knows for sure what would have been ruled, but to play it safe, Walker made sure that didn’t happen.
To this day, Easton has a 0.00 ERA through 31.2 innings. To give perspective, not only is he the only college player to have a perfect ERA, the next closest player has a 0.30 ERA.
The greatest pitcher in the MLB currently is Clayton Kershaw with a 2.39 career ERA. Obviously over hundreds of innings pitched and against better competition there is no comparison being made between Walker and Kershaw but to have a sample size and see what the best ever are doing shows how special this season has been for Easton Walker.
Over his career, Walker has pitched 65 innings and has a 1.80 ERA. Even that ERA would currently place him in the top 2% nationally based off of this years pitching leaders.
Although we can’t, and shouldn’t expect this streak all season long, just as we can’t expect Zach Wilson to come out continue his 18-18 throwing streak to go on to 30, 40 and a perfect season, we can enjoy the run that has been made and cheer on Walker as he continues to try to keep it going one pitch at a time.
If you missed last week’s player highlight click here.