Pitching has been the story of the playoffs for Cypress.

Aaron France pitched a three-hit shutout Saturday as host Cypress beat Southwestern, 9-0, in a Southern California playoff baseball game.

France's shutout was the second in a row for Cypress, which has not allowed a run in 22 innings. Josh Belovsky pitched a two-hitter Friday in a 4-0 victory over Chaffey in the first round.

"I don't know if the pitching is better or the hitting is worse (this season)," Cypress Coach Scott Pickler said. "I just know that our pitching has never been this good."

Cypress (38-10) plays Cuesta at 11 a.m. today at Cypress for a berth in next weekend's State tournament at Cerritos. Cuesta defeated Southwestern, 12-5, Saturday. The Chargers would have to lose twice not to advance.

Matt Hendren (9-2) will start today for Cypress, which has won 12 consecutive games.

France (12-3) tied Cypress' single-season mark for victories. He won the 17th of his career, also tying a school record.

France, a sophomore right-hander, didn't give up a hit for six innings but lost his no-hit bid when David Sanchez lined a single to left-center to start the seventh. France finished with nine strikeouts, including the side in the ninth.

"His curveball was outstanding today," catcher David Trentine said. "He had everything working."

Because the Chargers didn't blow the game open until they scored eight runs in the seventh inning, it was key that France dominated batters early.

"I was aware of the no-hitter," France said. "It made me sharper. I knew I had to go after the hitters."

Trentine had an RBI single in the first inning to give Cypress a 1-0 lead. That held up until Jason Hodges walked with the bases loaded to drive in the first run of the seventh.

The next run scored on a balk, and three more came home when Trentine doubled into the right-field corner.

"He threw me a curveball that kind of hung," Trentine said.

Eric Stevens had an RBI single, and Dominick Ruggiero had an RBI groundout, and the final run scored on an error.

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