Westwood pitches 'Cats into Finals

Astros prospect fires seven shutout innings in playoff clincher

Kyle Westwood was 2-2 with a 0.81 ERA in 11 regular-season games. (Kevin Pataky/MiLB.com)

By Ashley Marshall / MiLB.com | September 7, 2013 7:57 PM ET

For the second time in as many games, Tri-City was held scoreless for six innings. Just like they did on Friday night, the ValleyCats found a way to scratch out a victory.

And this one sends them off to play for a ring.

Kyle Westwood allowed five hits and a walk while striking out three over seven innings Saturday night as short-season Tri-Cty completed a two-game semifinal sweep of Aberdeen with a 3-0 win.

"Our spirits are high," said Westwood, the Astros' 13th-round pick in this year's Draft. "We just won the series in two games and we're going to the championship. It is what we've been working hard for all year. It means everything. Hopefully, we can bring a ring back to Tri-City."

It was the second straight shutout for the ValleyCats, although Aberdeen starters were stellar in the series.

In Game 1 on Friday, Tri-City squeaked out a 1-0 road win behind seven scoreless innings from Michael Feliz. Sebastian Vader spun 8 1/3 shutout frames of his own for the hosts before the ValleyCats scored against the IronBirds bullpen.

And on Saturday, Hunter Harvey -- the Orioles' No. 3 prospect -- fanned seven batters over five hitless innings without factoring in the decision.

"We have had a lot of close games, one-run games, throughout the year," said Westwood, who retired 12 batters in a row in the middle innings after giving up consecutive singles in the first. "We do it a lot and, hopefully, we can keep our composure [in the Finals].

"I definitely think we have a team that can win this year ... we have the tools to win a championship. It has been what we have been working hard for this year."

In the clincher, the ValleyCats broke through in the seventh inning. Ronnie Mitchell led off with a double and continued to third on a throwing error by left fielder Tanner Rust. Jon Kemmer doubled one out later and came home on a base hit by Chan Moon to make it 2-0.

Second baseman Ryan Dineen was 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored and Gonzalo Sanudo worked two perfect innings in relief of Westwood to seal the victory. Tri-City awaits the winner of the other semifinal between Jamestown and State College.

In other action:
State College 12, Jamestown 4

Designated hitter Michael Schulze went 4-for-5 with two RBIs and third baseman Carson Kelly homered, doubled, plated three runs and scored twice to help the Spikes tie the best-of-3 semifinal at 1-1.

Catcher Luke Voit reached base five times, shortstop Cesar Valera added three hits, an RBI and two runs scored and second baseman Mason Katz chipped in two hits and two RBIs.

The decisive third game of the series is Sunday night in State College. Box score »

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AshMarshallMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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