FORT WAYNE, IN – Pete Crow-Armstrong homered on the third pitch of the game, an 0-2 fastball, and South Bend led the rest of the way in their 5-4 win over Fort Wayne Tuesday night.
On a day in which the Padres were running wild with trades and garnering headlines from every major outlet, the Fort Wayne TinCaps saw a drastic roster change. Their originally scheduled starter, Robert Gasser, was traded to the Brewers, their number one prospect Robert Hassll III got shipped to the Nationals in the Juan Soto trade and then the TinCaps listed leadoff and two-hole hitter were both traded within 90 minutes of the first pitch.
That left the TinCaps with just 10 active position players.
But back to the game. Two costly errors on hard hit grounders from Yohendrick Pinango and Owen Caissie in the first set the table for Luis Verdugo to rip an RBI single into left and double the lead.
The next inning South Bend struck again. With two outs and the bases empty Crow-Armstrong shot a single the other way, again with two strikes. Jordan Nwogu followed with a hot-shot into the left field corner to plate the Cubs speedy outfielder from first.
Dalton Stambaugh made his second start of the season on the hill for the Cubs and went five strong innings, ultimately recording the win. The lefty allowed just four hits and one run. His sneaky rising fastball consistently fooled TinCaps hitters even though they got to him for one run on an Adam Kerner double in the third. Stambuagh looked comfortable and firmly in control his entire time on the mound tonight.
Leading 3-1, Pablo Aliendo snuck a towering blast over the wall in left for his fourth homer of the year.
Game one certainly felt like it should’ve been more emphatic win than it was though. South Bend loaded the bases with one out in the sixth but didn’t score and added a run in the sixth on a Nwogu RBI single, but once again stranded a triumvirate of Cubs.
Up 5-1, Riley Martin came out of the Cubs bullpen for the sixth and seventh. In his first inning the left-hander struck out the side in order on 10 pitches, one pitch away from an immaculate inning. The following inning he punched out the side again but allowed two walks and a single that led to a run scoring on a wild pitch. Martin’s slider was as nasty as ever and he continues to just mow opponents down since his stint on the development list.
Lucas Dunn tapped a ball 35 feet down the third base line for a…