Quoted from Bwilson:
Not sure on that one. Maybe if a mode was running during that time and the orbit is lit up. I would assume that the gate would be open. There is a switch in the orbit behind Stay Puft that is responsible for opening the gate. Sometimes you'll get zingers that will miss the switch and the gate won't open. Or you'll hit the switch the gate opens then the ball hits something funky and rattles around back down into the pops. It's super important that you have your game leveled and pitched properly. I had some problems with this and I eventually got rid of it by perfectly leveling side to side and running around 6.8-7 degree pitch.
What im talking about has nothing to do with not making it through the orbit. The ball clearly hits the gets and bounces back then down to the pops.
The real question is when that gate is supposed to be open and closed...