WILMINGTON, N.C. – The East Carolina softball team earned a split on its Opening Day, shutting out Purdue Fort Wayne 6-0 before falling 8-0 in five innings to No. 11 Virginia Tech on Thursday.

The Pirates (1-1) will face both teams again Friday in the same order, taking on Purdue Fort Wayne at 2 p.m. and Virginia Tech at 4:30 p.m.

Game One: East Carolina 6, Purdue Fort Wayne 0
The Pirates’ offense got started early, as Joie Fittante’s RBI drove in Taylor Edwards for a 1-0 Pirate lead. Edwards hit a triple to right center field earlier to put the Pirates in prime scoring position from the start. 

Jordan Hatch (1-0) started her sophomore season off strong in the circle, recording two strikeouts and only allowing two hits in five innings. Taylor Smith entered the game in the bottom of the sixth inning and allowed one hit in two innings. 

Gracie Brinkerhoff (0-1) allowed seven hits, five runs and three earned runs in four innings for the Mastodons.

After a scoreless second inning, ECU would increase its lead at the plate in the third inning as Edwards’ RBI to left center field would drive in Bailee Wilson to put the Pirates ahead 2-0. Freshman Anna Sawyer would record her first collegiate hit for a single and would subsequently steal second base to put runners on second and third. Fittante would record her second RBI to bring in Edwards again and put ECU up 3-0.

The Pirates would tack on two more runs in the fourth inning to go up 5-0 and Hatch would work her way out of a jam to keep the Mastodons off the board as Purdue Fort Wayne would load the bases in the bottom of the fourth.

Taudrea Sinnie would score an unearned run in the top of the sixth inning and the Pirates would complete the shutout to earn its first win of the 2023 season.

Game Two: Virginia Tech 8, East Carolina 0
Virginia Tech would put the Pirates on their heels early, racing out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning that was capped off by a three-run homer by the Hokies’ Bre Peck and forcing the Pirates to go to their bullpen to start the second inning.  

The Hokies would add on two more runs in the third and fifth innings to secure the five-inning win. ECU would only muster four hits at the plate and were unable to stop the Hokies’ high-powered offense, allowing 11 hits.

Madisyn Davis (0-1) surrendered four hits and four runs in one inning and was relieved by Addy Bullis in the second inning. Bullis allowed four more hits and two runs in two innings in the circle and Payton Hudson entered the circle for the Pirates to finish the game, facing four batters in the fifth inning.

Emma Lemley (1-0) picked up the win for the Hokies, recording seven strikeouts in five innings.