Direct proton-knockout reactions of Sc55 at ∼220 MeV/nucleon were studied at the RIKEN Radioactive Isotope Beam Factory. Populated states of Ca54 were investigated through γ-ray and invariant-mass spectroscopy. Level energies were calculated from the nuclear shell model employing a phenomenological internucleon interaction. Theoretical cross sections to states were calculated from distorted-wave impulse approximation estimates multiplied by the shell model spectroscopic factors, which describe the wave function overlap of the Sc55 ground state with states in Ca54. Despite the calculations showing a significant amplitude of excited neutron configurations in the ground-state of Sc55, valence proton removals populated predominantly the ground state of Ca54. This counterintuitive result is attributed to pairing effects leading to a dominance of the ground-state spectroscopic factor. Owing to the ubiquity of the pairing interaction, this argument should be generally applicable to direct knockout reactions from odd-even to even-even nuclei.