Westfield — The struggles continued for the Zionsville baseball team Thursday night.
The Eagles dropped their fourth-straight contest, falling behind early against Westfield and were unable to come back in a 11-1 loss to the Shamrocks.
"Our offense is struggling big time," Zionsville head coach Jered Moore said about the biggest concern in the stretch. "We had three hits today. And hats off to their pitcher, he was decent, but he wasn't so good that we should have only had three hits and five baserunners. It's tough to put pressure on the defense when you aren't getting baserunners, and our approaches at the plate — we just aren't battling right now. We are just playing poorly."
It took just three batters for Westfield to take the lead. A walk, double and ground out gave the Shamrocks a 1-0 lead, and the next batter reached on an error to make it 2-0.
In the third, Westfield scored on a squeeze to make it 3-0. Clay Burton took the loss for the Eagles, allowing six runs (five earned) in four innings. He struck out five.
"Clay (Burton) didn't pitch bad, but what it really boiled down to was the lead-off hitter," Moore said. "We dropped third strike, next guy up hits a double and the whole inning is different then. From the start of the game we were on our heels and it is frustrating to put ourselves in a hole early."
Westfield pulled away in the fifth.
The Shamrocks loaded the bases with no outs, and Kyle Pepiot followed with a single, then went to the fence on an error allowing all three runners to score. Westfield ultimately scored six in the inning to go up 9-0.
"If you expect to win in our conference, you can't have four errors like we did," Moore said. "You can't fall behind hitters either, and when you get ahead you have to make your pitches. The minute you have an error or two, they definitely compound and in this conference you give up a big inning."
The Eagles struggles in opening games of series offensively.
Zionsville had just three hits, scoring its lone run on a Hayden Elsbury single in the fifth.
It was the continuation of a bad trend for the Eagles in HCC openers. Zionsville is now 0-5 in series openers, scoring just five runs in the process.
Moore said when you aren't scoring runs, it puts a lot more pressure on every other aspect of the game.
"When you are up in the game, you are going to play more relaxed," Moore said. "You will be having more fun and making more plays. Right now, we are struggling to score and get guys on base. When that happens, it puts pressure on the pitching and defense."
Cole Connor was 2-for-3 with a run scored for the Eagles, who drop to 7-11 on the season.
The two teams meet again Friday night at Westfield, with a third non-conference contest between the teams on Saturday afternoon in Zionsville.