Little debuts, but Cubs drop opener to Whitecaps 5-3

SOUTH BEND, Ind. Before their series opener against the West Michigan Whitecaps on Tuesday night, the South Bend Cubs had their roster revamped after losing Delvin Zinn and Tyler Durna to Advanced-A Myrtle Beach. Due to both players being promoted, pitchers Brendon Little, Casey Ryan, Fauris Guerrero, and infielder Luke Reynolds were added to the South Bend roster.

Little got the start in game one against West Michigan in his return to Four Winds Field. Little spent the entire 2018 campaign with the Cubs and was a mainstay in the starting rotation. After an injury kept him out for the start of the 2019 season, he was assigned to South Bend after two starts in the Arizona League.

The lefty started the night red hot and worked two consecutive 1-2-3 innings. The 2017 first round pick also got some immediate run support thanks to fellow top-30 prospect Brennen Davis. The 19-year-old center fielder smashed his fourth home run deep over the left-center field wall to put the Cubs in front 2-0.

Little allowed just three hits, but they were costly. West Michigan tied the game in the top of the 3rd on a walk and a single combined with an RBI groundout and sac fly. From that point, it was all Whitecaps. They managed one more run on Little on an RBI single in the 5th. The Cubs starter departed after five innings and three strikeouts.

Any momentum the Cubs had was halted thanks to a 45-minute rain delay in the top of the 6th. Carlos Vega threw just two pitches in the inning before the game was stopped due to a heavy downpour. After the rain delay was lifted, South Bend scored one more time in the bottom of the 9th on an RBI hit from Andy Weber.

It would not be enough as the Whitecaps took game one 5-3. Former Notre Dame pitcher Brad Bass earned the win with five innings of work, despite giving up 10 hits.

The Cubs will give it another go tomorrow night in the homestand finale against West Michigan. First pitch is set for 7:35 p.m. in the second of the club’s Independence Day celebrations.