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Notre Dame baseball team silences Central 4-0
Cody Heisserer didn't need much help to beat Central.
Heisserer pitched a three-hit shutout and provided the big offensive blow with a two-run homer as Notre Dame eased past the host Tigers 4-0 Monday afternoon.
The Bulldogs improved to 6-0 while dropping the Tigers to 2-4.
"We're good friends with a lot of those guys," Heisserer said about Notre Dame's Cape Girardeau rival. "It's fun to beat them."
Heisserer, arguably the area's top pitcher, was in control on the mound even though he said he intentionally didn't throw as hard as he normally does.
Heisserer said Notre Dame assistant coach Jamie Puckett told him to tone things down in order to be more efficient.
"Coach Puckett said come out and throw 82, 83 [miles per hour] and get ground balls, let my defense help me," Heisserer said. "My pitch count has been up and we're working on keeping it down."
Heisserer had by far the most efficient of his three starts this season. The senior right-hander, who is 2-0, struck out seven, walked one and hit a batter.
"It was mainly my fastball and changeup today," Heisserer said. "The defense was really good."
Twelve of the 21 outs Heisserer recorded came on ground balls. Only one other ball beside Central's three hits reached the outfield.
"Cody threw extremely well. That's the best he's looked so far," Notre Dame coach Jeff Graviett said. "He's been getting up around 80, 90 pitches in the fifth inning. We've talked to him about taking something off. We've made some minor adjustments."
The Bulldogs broke open a scoreless game with three runs in the third inning on three hits.
Senior Jonathan Lynch delivered a two-out RBI single to score junior Justin Landewee, who had reached on a one-out single, advanced to second when the ball was misplayed for an error and moved to third on a groundout.
Heisserer then drilled a pitch from freshman Chase Hagerty beyond the left-center field fence to make it 3-0.
It was first home run of the season for Heisserer, who belted four last year.
"[Hagerty] threw me a curveball the first pitch. I swung at it in the dirt and looked like a fool," Heisserer said with a laugh. "He came back with a fastball and I hit it good. It was good to finally get my first home run."
Notre Dame rounded out the scoring with an unearned run in the sixth inning, capitalizing on two of Central's three errors on the day.
While Heisserer was dominant, Hagerty had another solid outing in his freshman season.
"He threw the ball well," Lynch said.
Hagerty, working the first six innings, allowed nine hits and three earned runs. He struck out five and walked none.
"Chase pitched real well," Central coach Steve Williams said. "He made a couple of bad pitches when he missed location, but overall he did a very good job."
Graviett figures he'll see plenty more of Hagerty in the future.
"He'll probably be a thorn in my side the next three years," Graviett said.
Central put two runners on base in an inning just once -- the seventh. Notre Dame's only error of the game, with two outs, prolonged Heisserer's day.
Heisserer followed with his lone walk but sealed the victory with a strikeout.
"Their guy was good," Williams said about Heisserer. "He made big pitches when he had to."
Heisserer, Lynch, Landewee and junior Cody DeBrock all had two of Notre Dame's nine hits.
"The defense was solid, and Cody threw a great game," Lynch said. "Cross-town rivals, you like to come out and get on them early."
Ramsey Scott had two of Central's three hits, including a double.
Notre Dame might have scored more but the Bulldogs had four runners thrown out on the base paths, including two gunned down by Central catcher Ryan Siebert.
Siebert threw out a runner trying to steal in the first inning and picked off a runner trying to advance on a pitch in the dirt in the fifth inning.
"We didn't run the bases real well, but they had to make the plays," Graviett said.
Ethan Dambach pitched a hitless seventh inning for Central.
WP -- Cody Heisserer, 2-0. LP -- Chase Hagerty. HR -- Heisserer (ND). 2B -- Ramsey Scott (C), Ryan Siebert (C). Multiple hits -- Notre Dame: Justin Landewee 2-2, Heisserer 2-3, Jonathan Lynch 2-3, Cody DeBrock 2-3. Central: Scott 2-3. Records -- Notre Dame 6-0, Central 2-4.