When the Charlotte Knights load the bases for Matt Tuiasosopo, he delivers.
The Charlotte outfielder entered Tuesday batting .444 with two home runs and 15 RBIs in nine at-bats with the bases full. In his second plate appearance against the Durham Bulls, he boosted his resume.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the third, Tuiasosopo hit Jim Miller’s first pitch over the left-field wall for his third grand slam of the season. The home run set a team record for most grand slams in a season and capped the Knights’ scoring in a 7-4 victory at BB&T BallPark.
Tuiasosopo has homered in four of his past five games, and he leads Charlotte (56-42) with seven home runs in July. He has 11 on the season.
After hitting a one-out double in the second inning, Tuiasosopo scored the Knights’ first run on a three-run homer by Kevan Smith that gave the Knights a 3-1 lead.
Tuiasosopo’s grand slam an inning later provided Brad Penny (5-3) with more than enough run support. Penny hasn’t lost a game since May 3.
After drawing a walk in the eighth inning, Tuiasosopo finished the night 2-for-3 with a walk, a double, a home run, two runs scored and four RBIs.
“(Tuiasosopo) hits in the middle of our lineup. When you do that and guys are on base, good things can happen. It’s not always the guy that hits it. It’s the credit to the guys who get on base, too. It worked out well.” — Charlotte manager Joel Skinner
Charlotte reliever Blake Smith entered the game in the seventh inning and struck out the first four batters he faced. He pitched two scoreless innings and tied his season high with five strikeouts. … After striking out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning, Micah Johnson finished 0-for-5 and saw his six-game hitting streak come to an end. He entered the game batting .432 over his past 10 games with 19 hits.
The Knights and Bulls are scheduled to play Game 3 of their four-game series at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday. Charlotte right-hander Scott Carroll (3-2, 2.06 ERA) is slated to start against Durham right-hander Bradin Hagens (1-1, 4.26).