SAN DIEGO — Colby Gomes logged the finest start of his young career, but the bullpen let yet another lead slip away in a 4-2 loss to San Diego State late Saturday.
All the scoring occurred in the sixth inning. Nebraska mounted a two-out rally with a Spencer Schwellenbach single followed by RBI hits from Aaron Palensky and Luke Roskam.
Gomes exited after plunking the leadoff batter in the bottom half against the Mountain West favorites. Relievers Bo Blessie and Trey Kissack combined for four wild pitches, two walks and two singles allowed. A would-be double-play ball that would have ended the inning was instead bobbled on the relay, allowing a run to come home and setting up scoring hits from Anthony Walters and Wyatt Hendrie.
The Huskers (1-4) have scored first in every game this season. Saturday was the third time the bullpen blew a late advantage — NU lost 12-11 to San Diego on Friday after leading 7-0.
“We had a chance to go finish that game off just like we did (Friday),” Nebraska coach Will Bolt said during his postgame radio interview. “We played just good enough to lose. That’s not the standard we have here at Nebraska.”
Gomes was the big bright spot for the Huskers. The sophomore right-hander from Millard West lasted a career-long five-plus innings in his fourth career start. He allowed a pair of soft singles while walking one and striking out one across 67 pitches.
With Nebraska trailing by two, relievers Caleb Feekin and Paul Tillotson both turned in scoreless innings.
Bolt said Gomes, a converted closer, had the fastball-slider combination working while mixing in the occasional change-up. San Diego State hitters managed little more than soft contact throughout.
“It was good to see his velocity was back up,” Bolt said. “I just saw a lot more conviction in his pitches. He just executed at a higher level and got ahead and made some good pitches as a result.”
San Diego State righty Troy Melton handcuffed the Husker offense, striking out seven and walking a pair in six innings. He combined with two relievers to hold Nebraska to five hits, including just one until two outs in the sixth. Bolt called the offense “oddly passive” most of the night as it rarely managed good swings.
Nebraska wraps up the Tony Gwynn Legacy tournament Sunday against Arizona beginning at noon.
Nebraska (1-3)..................000 020 000—2 5 0
At San Diego State (4-1)...000 004 000—4 5 1
W: Melton, 2-0. L: Blessie, 0-1. 2B: NU, Palensky.