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DADE CITY — Coming into Friday’s regular-season home finale against Gulf, Pasco had been scoring runs at an exceptional rate.
Over their past nine contests, all victories, the Pirates averaged close to 13 runs a game.
Backed by the pitching of freshman Madison Morlan, Gulf figured out how to quiet the Pirates’ bats.
Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, they had no answer for Pasco pitcher Emily Pennington.
The junior right-hander, who got the start in favor of Pirates ace Courtney Brandt, limited Gulf to two hits and kept the Buccaneers off the scoreboard in a 3-0, complete-game victory.
“Emily is really paying attention to Courtney and how she pitches,” Pasco coach Lisa Herndon said. “She’s always in control like Courtney.”
Against Gulf, Pennington stayed in command throughout. The Buccaneers (13-10) never advanced a runner past second base.
Pennington issued two walks but countered with two strikeouts. Gulf had no problems putting the ball in play against Pennington but couldn’t find any holes in the Pirates’ defense.
“I got in my groove tonight,” Pennington said.
Morlan was nearly as effective for Gulf, holding the Pirates (19-4) to six hits without any walks. Pasco, though, took advantage of a throwing error to get on the scoreboard. In the bottom of the second inning with two outs and Jordan Lane on first, Gulf catcher Nikki Sedivy tried to pick off Lane, but her throw went into the foul territory in rightfield. Lane came all the way around from first, sliding into home ahead of the throw.
Pennington singled a batter later and her courtesy runner, Christina Eitnier, advanced to second on a wild pitch. She scored after Kaylee Britton doubled to centerfield.
Lane made it 3-0 after crushing Morlan’s offering over the leftfield fence for a home run to lead off the fourth inning.
Otherwise, Pasco’s potent offense was held in check.
“Our whole team’s been hitting. We have eight batters that are above .300,” Herndon said. “Not tonight though.”
The win was the ninth in a row for Pasco since going 1-3 at the Bartow Softball Tournament. The Pirates sweep the regular-season series with Pasco having defeated the Buccaneers 8-3 on March 8.
For Gulf, the loss snaps a five-game winning streak.