NEW PORT RICHEY — While the season winds down toward the postseason, Pasco has been a little bit off its game heading into spring break.
With a couple close games against Hudson (an 8-7 victory) and Gulf (a 5-4 victory) in the past five games, the Pirates felt like they needed to pick up the pace before the break.
Ace Courtney Brandt would make sure there was no slowing down Thursday night, as Pasco sailed to a 7-0 victory over Gulf in a Class 4A-7 matchup.
Brandt had five strikeouts and allowed six hits and one walk for the win. Pasco (13-3) gave her some early run support as Lizzy Burchfield tripled and knocked in Kelli Parker from first base in the opening inning. Brandt helped her own cause, singling in Burchfield from third for a 2-0 lead.
"We really needed to pick it up for this game," Brandt said. "It feels good winning even though we didn't do our best. But it is crucial for us to pick it up if we want to win down the stretch."
The Buccaneers (9-6) had their best opportunity to score in the bottom of seventh when catcher Kayla Crawford led off with a double and University of South Florida commitment Brittney Mayhill followed with a single.
But Brandt would not let up, getting Taylor Bruckner to pop out, Amber Maxey to strike out and Chelsea Gorr to fly out to centerfield to end the game.
"We still have some work to do," Pasco coach Lisa Herndon said. "We didn't do too well at (Hudson) the other night so we had to come back and play strong tonight."