ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Alex Real had four hits and four RBIs to back Jonathan Cuellar's first start of the season as UNM defeated San Jose State 10-1 Friday night for its sixth straight win. Ryan Padilla and Aaron Siple also had four hits to pace the Lobos (15-7-1, 5-2).
"It was a 4-for-5 night for me but an even better night for the team," Real said. "(They had) a slow lefty on the mound with good offspeed stuff so I just told myself to stay back, let the ball get deep and not try to do too much. It worked out for me tonight."
Cuellar (2-1) did his best Josh Walker impression as he tied a career-high with 5.0 innings pitched. He scattered seven singles, did not walk a batter, and struck out two as he kept the Spartans (6-17, 3-7) off the scoreboard to lower his ERA to 0.98 on the season.
"I minimized the damage, and that's what we preach here," the senior right hander said. "I was excited to go out there today. We got the win. What's that? Six in a row? We're not even playing our best baseball yet so that's exciting."
UNM got on the board in the first with a two-out rally. Chase Harris drew a walk ahead of a slow-rolling single through the right side by Real. Harris was almost at third when the ball reached the Spartans' right fielder, Sheldon Daquiog, and when Daquiog's throw to the infield bounced away from the SJSU shortstop, Harris sprinted home with an unearned run. It was one of five unearned runs UNM scored, mostly thanks to its speed.
"They gave us some runs, but we got some runs by putting the ball in play," UNM head coach Ray Birmingham said. "Our speed makes guys hurry. I think a lot of the things that have happened, a lot of the errors we've seen, are because (our speed) gets in their head."
The Lobos' speed led to a pair of unearned runs in the fifth. With Siple on third with two outs, Harris hit a high chopper back to the bound. SJSU's starter, Jonathan Hernandez, leapt and speared it, but when he looked up Harris was already almost at first. His throw sailed high, which allowed Siple to score and Harris to scamper all the way to third. Real then drove him home with a single up the middle to give UNM a 3-0 cushion.
"We've matured as hitters," Real said. "We don't get a lot of strikeouts. We battle with two strikes and we're tough to get out."
SJSU cut the lead to 3-1 with a run in the seventh, and threatened for more, but Taylor Duree came in and induced a groundout to second with the bases loaded to end the inning.
The Lobos then exploded for seven runs in the next two frames, beginning with four in the bottom of the seventh. Harris drove in the first run of the inning with a sacrifice fly, and Real was responsible for the final three. He doubled home a pair, stole third, and he scored when the throw sailed over the third baseman's head.
The Lobos added three more in the eighth. Harris and Real had RBI singles, and Danny Collier once again displayed UNM's team speed by scoring on John Pustay's sacrifice fly to SJSU's second baseman in shallow right.
Duree finished the game on the mound for the Lobos to earn his first career save.
The teams meet again Saturday at 2 p.m. at Lobo Field. Colton Thomson will start on the mound for the Lobos. The game will be streamed live at GoLobos.com and ESPN Radio 101.7 The Team will broadcast the game.
Fans are again asked to park in the Baseball South dirt lot and enter the ballpark from the south. Admission will again be FREE for everyone attending the game.
Notes: Real's double was his team-leading ninth of the season ... Harris and Siple each scored three runs ... the Lobos only struck out once at the plate ... Duree's walk to the first batter he faced was the only one issued by the Lobos ... all nine starters now boast a batting average .288 or higher.