Vic Black — who pitched in 2009 for State College — became the 21st former Spike to reach the major leagues when he made his debut Thursday with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Black entered the game with two outs and faced two Washington Nationals in 1/3 of an inning at Nationals Park. The Pirates trailed 7-3 at that point, but came back to tie the game in the ninth before the Nationals won, 9-7.
Black was selected by the Pirates as a supplemental first-round draft choice in 2009 and started his pro career with the Spikes that summer. A right-hander out of Dallas Baptist University, Black went 1-2 with a 3.45 ERA in 13 appearances — seven of them starts — for the Spikes. He also notched a save and struck out 33 batters while walking 15 in 31 1/3 innings.
Following his season with the Spikes, Black, a native of Amarillo, Texas, battled injuries for two seasons before earning Eastern League mid-season All-Star honors as a reliever at Double-A Altoona in 2012. He began 2013 at Triple-A Indianapolis and recorded 15 saves in 17 opportunities with a 2.31 ERA before being called up to Pittsburgh Tuesday.
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The list of former Spikes to have debuted in the majors this year also includes two of Black’s teammates on the 2009 squad, Tony Sanchez and Phil Irwin, as well as 2010 Spikes pitcher Brandon Cumpton. Others who started with the Spikes include Allen Craig (2006) of St. Louis, Brendan Ryan (2006) of Seattle, Luke Gregerson (2006) of San Diego, Adam Ottavino (2006) of Colorado, Donovan Solano (2006) of Miami and Tony Watson (2007) of Pittsburgh.