A pair of high draft picks of the Chicago Cubs from the 2023 draft made good impressions in their Midwest League debut as the South Bend Cubs beat the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 9-2 Tuesday night at Four Winds Field. Luis Devers was almost perfect over five innings to pick up the win for South Bend.
Jeff Shaw, the Chicago Cubs #1 pick in the 2023 draft, made an immediate impact for South Bend. Shaw, who had been called up from the Arizona Complex League earlier in the day, drove a triple to center on his first swing as a South Bend Cub. James Triantos was next. He drove the first pitch he saw over the wall in left for a two-run homer and a 2-0 lead.
Wisconsin starting pitcher Nate Peterson got the first two outs in the bottom of the second inning before giving up a single to Ed Howard on an 0-2 pitch. Christian Franklin followed with a long home run to left and South Bend had a 4-0 lead.
The Cubs (14-17 second half, 44-52 overall) added to their lead in the bottom of the third inning on a two-out, two-run double by Felix Stevens.
Rattlers reliever Miguel Guerrero got the final out of the third inning and retired the first two batters in the bottom of the fourth. However, he issued a four-pitch walk to Triantos and Moises Ballesteros cashed in the opportunity with a double to the wall in center for a 7-0 score.
Meanwhile, the Rattlers (16-15, 42-53) struggled against Devers. Joe Gray Jr doubled to start the second inning. Devers would retire the next twelve batters in a row before turning the 7-0 lead over to the bullpen. Devers walked none and struck out six over his five scoreless innings.
The Timber Rattlers got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth inning against the Cubs bullpen. Je’Von Ward singled to start the inning on the first pitch from Max Bain. Then, Jose Acosta homered to right field. Acosta has homered in two straight games. He also hit a three-run homer on Sunday in Wisconsin’s 4-0 win over the Cedar Rapids Kernels at home.
South Bend added two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning against Justin King. Shaw singled. Triantos drove him in with a triple. Josh Rivera, Chicago’s third round pick in 2023 who was also making his Midwest League debut, picked up his first Midwest League RBI with a sacrifice fly for a 9-2 advantage.
In the ninth, Wisconsin got a runner aboard with an error and another with a walk, but never threatened to rally.
The Timber Rattlers were held to three hits in the game and had just four at bats with runners in scoring position during the game. South Bend cracked fourteen hits and six of those went for extra bases with two homers, two triples, and two doubles. Ballesteros led the hit parade with three hits and an RBI. Triantos knocked in three runs and scored three runs for the Cubs.
Gray had a double and a walk to be the only Rattler to reach base twice in Tuesday’s game.
Game two of the series is Wednesday night at Four Winds Field. Cameron Wagoner (2-11, 7.53) is the scheduled starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers. The Cubs have named Brody McCullough (0-1, 5.40) as their starter. Game time is 6:05pm CDT.