GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina opened the 2022 Pirate Invitational Friday evening with a 7-3 loss to Villanova and a 9-1 six-inning run-rule victory over Fairleigh Dickinson inside Max R. Joyner Family Stadium.

Day One Pirate Invitational Scores
Villanova 1, Gardner-Webb 0
Gardner-Webb 6, Fairleigh Dickinson 5
Villanova 7, East Carolina 3
East Carolina 9, Fairleigh Dickinson 1

ECU (5-7) continues play Saturday, facing off with Gardner-Webb at 3 p.m. and Fairleigh Dickinson at 5:30.

Game One: Villanova 7, East Carolina 3
The Wildcats scored all their runs in the first two innings and held off a late Pirate comeback attempt to finish their day with two victories.

Kelsey White (2-2) tossed 6.1 innings in the victory and allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Sara Kennedy completed her first save of the season by retiring the final batter of the contest with the bases loaded. Jordan Hatch (1-5) took the loss after giving up seven runs on six hits with three walks and one strikeout. Madisyn Davis was strong in relief, throwing 3.2 scoreless innings and tallying seven strikeouts against no walks.

Chloe Smith paced the Villanova offense with three hits and a run scored. Megan Kern also chipped in with two base knocks, a run scored and two RBI. Faith Jarvis rapped out a pair of hits for East Carolina.

Angela Giampolo was hit by a pitch to lead off the game and Paige Rauch quickly gave the visitors the lead with a two-run home run that cleared the center field fence. The Wildcats chased Hatch in the top of the second, scoring five runs in total to extend their advantage to 7-0.

A Villanova fielding error allowed Taudrea Sinnie to score in the bottom of the third and slice the ECU deficit to six runs. Bailey Ledvina then scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the fourth to make it 7-2.

The Pirates staged one last comeback attempt in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Joie Fittante doubled to center field before Sinnie drew a two-out walk. Jarvis then singled up the middle to load the bases. Chandley Garner kept the line moving with a RBI single, scoring Fittante and bringing the tying run to the dish. A nice grab by Giampolo on a ball up the middle allowed the Wildcats to escape with the win.

Game Two: East Carolina 9, Fairleigh Dickinson 1
A solid nine-hit offensive effort and stout pitching helped ECU respond with a run-rule triumph in the nightcap.

Davis (1-0) earned her first win in the Purple and Gold, allowing just one run on three hits in four innings of work. She walked two batters and struck out three. Malori Bell (0-3) was the losing pitcher after getting touched up for five runs on four hits with six walks and two strikeouts in four innings.

Ledvina led the way offensively, going 2-for-3 with a run scored and one driven in. Garner and Sophie Wools notched a pair of RBI apiece. Cassidy Triska recorded the only RBI of the contest for the Knights in a 1-for-3 effort at the plate.

After Davis mowed down the side with two strikeouts in the top of the first, Garner drew a one-out walk and moved to second on a groundout. Ledvina then singled to left field to plate Garner and Sophie Wools followed with a two-run shot over the left field fence to leave the Pirates with a 3-0 cushion after one complete.

Triska produced an RBI single in the top of the second, but East Carolina answered with a pair in the home half to pull ahead 5-1. The scoring would cease for a while before the Pirates put the game away in the bottom of the sixth.

Keira Womack singled to lead things off and Taylor Woodring followed with a double that moved Womack to third. Jocelyn Alonso roped a single to left center that scored pinch runner Gianna Edwards before an infield single plated Woodring to make it 7-1. After a groundout, Garner laced a two-run single into center that provided the game’s final margin.