UNIVERSITY PARK — The State College Spikes may have expected Starling Marte to come through in the clutch with runners in scoring position in extra innings Tuesday night, but he didnt, going 0-for-5 with three strikeouts.
Instead, Samuel Gonzalez stole the show, pinch-hitting for the Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder, who was making a rehab assignment in State College but was limited to just five at-bats by the organization.
Gonzalez hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th, scoring Derek Trent, who had a pinch-hit double to lead off the inning, to give the Spikes a 5-4 victory over the Mahoning Valley Scrappers at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Im happy for these guys. They deserve it, Spikes manager Dave Turgeon said after the game. They work at it daily and some of these guys have been going since January with college. Im happy for them.
Marte, who didnt speak to reporters after the win, is expected to be with Class AAA Indianapolis on Wednesday night for the Indians game against Charlotte. The Pirates are hopeful he will return to Pittsburgh for this weekends series against the Chicago Cubs.
The outfielder played 23 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season, batting .253 with four home runs and 10 RBIs. He spent the first few months of the year in Indianapolis before being called up to Pittsburgh in late July.
After about a month with the Pirates, Marte suffered a strained right oblique in a 5-4 loss to St. Louis on Aug. 18.
Trent said being around a guy like Marte, who has spent time in the big leagues, is infectious on the rest of the team.
Its been good having him around. Hes a great guy, Trent said. Well come up and talk to him and hell talk to us like hes been on our team all year.
In his first at-bat, Marte hit a groundball to third, a simple one to play, that the Scrappers' Jorge Martinez juggled as he scooped it up off the dirt and Marte reached on the error.
His second time up, the 23-year-old fell behind in the count 0-2, then tried to check his swing on a pitch just above the letters and outside, but went around and struck out swinging.
In his third place appearance, Marte struck out looking on four pitches, the final strike on the outside corner. He didnt agree with the call, and then got in the umpires face for a few seconds before returning to the dugout.
Marte flew out to right field in his fourth at-bat,, then in his final time at the plate, struck out swinging in the bottom of the ninth with the winning run on second base.
Turgeon said when a player goes through a rehab with a pull or a tear, the adhesions might be tight, and when they havent played in a while, it can be difficult to get going.
Is it 100 percent? Probably not. Is it close? Yeah," Turgeon said of the oblique injury. "Now its going to be a matter of him getting his timing back. He hasnt played in quite some time.
While Marte struggled all night, the Spikes got some solid pitching from righty Tyler Glasnow. He tossed four innings in his first outing with the Spikes, giving up four hits, a walk and two runs, but none were earned. The 19-year-old a fifth-round pick by the Pirates in 2011 also struck out four batters. Righty Kyle Haynes got the win with two innings of relief to improve to 3-2.
The Spikes will close out their season tonight against the Scrappers, this time without Marte.
Weve been trying to (finish), and obviously we did that here today, Trent said. It was a good team effort and we played all the way through.