May 24, 2008


Stapf Day carries EMU to MAC Championship Game


By Phil Stanton Co-Founder


CHILLICOTHE, Ohio – He was close to coming out in the third, but came within one out of a complete game.


Freshman right-hander Jake Stapf threw nearly 150 pitches in leading second-seeded Eastern Michigan to a 9-6 victory over No. 6 Ohio to advance to the Championship Game of the 2008 Mid-American Conference Tournament at VA Memorial Stadium.


The Eagles (24-32) will face either top-seeded Kent State or No. 4 Northern Illinois in Saturday’s title contest. NIU must beat the Golden Flashes twice to reach the Championship Game.


Stapf (3-4) allowed six hits in 8.2 innings with five earned runs, five walks and six strikeouts. He surrendered three walks and five runs in the third, including a grand slam, but put that behind him to stick around until the ninth.


Kyle Rhoad hit the first pitch of the game into the trees beyond the left field fence and Zach Leonard had a two-run single in the top of the third as KSU took an early 3-0 lead.


The Bobcats (29-30) battled back in the bottom of the third. Zach Hartle had a leadoff single and Zach Keen reached on an error. Stapf then walked the next two men to force in OU’s first run. Marc Krauss belted a grand slam to center to give Ohio a 5-3 advantage. Stapf walked Brandon Besl and still had yet to retire a batter in the inning. But Stapf helped his own cause by starting a 1-6-3 double play and got a flyout to end the nightmare.


EMU responded with a four-spot in the top of the fourth to take the lead for good. Michael Boyd went deep with one out to pull the Eagles to within one. Steve Bradshaw’s RBI single tied it, and a sacrifice fly by Jeff Davis put EMU back on top. Josh Ivan’s run-scoring single gave the Eagles a 7-5 lead. EMU added a two-run single by Bradshaw in the sixth for a 9-5 advantage. Mark Stiffler homered in the seventh for OU for the final run of the contest.


Following the third inning, Stapf allowed four hits, three singles and a home run, walked one and struck out five.


Bradshaw finished with three hits, two runs and three RBI for EMU. Rhoad had three hits and scored three. Hartle had three hits for Ohio.