Dominique Lindsay ran for 139 yards for the Pirates (5-3, 4-1 Conference USA), who warmed up for a game against No. 14 Virginia Tech by rolling up nearly 500 yards on one of the country's worst defenses.
The Tigers, who rank 106th in total defense, fumbled twice to set up early scores for East Carolina.
Will Hudgens completed 33 of 48 passes for 313 yards and two touchdowns for the Tigers, who turned the ball over four times.
Pinkney completed 14 of 27 passes for 216 yards and a touchdown, and was picked off once. His only carries were scoring runs of 23 and 3 yards.