McLaughlin continues to blank opponents, Rizzacasa and Smith deliver big hits in sweep

Laura McLaughlin was named second-team All-East Region by the Conference Commissioners Association.
Laura McLaughlin was named second-team All-East Region by the Conference Commissioners Association.

OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. — Laura McLaughlin's string of flawless performances continued Thursday.

McLaughlin upped her streak without allowing an earned run to 42 2/3 innings as the NYIT softball team swept Pace, 2-0 and 3-1, in a big regional matchup.

McLaughlin tossed a four-hit shutout and Christine Rizzacasa delivered a two-run double in the fourth inning in Game 1.

In Game 2, Madison Smith staked the Bears to a 2-0 lead with a two-run single in the fourth and Ashley Russo tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings before departing with a runner on first base.

McLaughlin then entered and surrendered a two-out triple to Stephanie Wang that allowed the inherited runner to score. However, McLaughlin stranded the would-be tying run at third base and preserved her own streak by coaxing a groundout from Ashley Lew.

Kaitlyn Lanksbury's solo homer in the sixth restored a two-run cushion.

McLaughlin ultimately handled the final 2 2/3 innings in the nightcap to complete the sweep. 

The Bears improved to 19-13, while Pace dropped to 16-15.

McLaughlin, the reigning East Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week, lowered her season ERA to 1.40. She has limited opponents to two unearned runs during her streak, which spans 10 appearances.

"Our pitchers did a really good job keeping the other hitters off-balance," Rizzacasa said. "And our offense came alive in key situations to drive runs in."