FORT MILL, S.C. -- The 2013 season has been a special one for Jim Gallagher. Earlier this year, the Duke University product celebrated the birth of his daughter. Since then, he has been one of the most consistent hitters of the season for Charlotte.
Gallagher launched the first Charlotte grand slam of the year, Gordon Beckham added three hits, and the Charlotte Knights beat the Toledo Mud Hens 8-4 on Thursday in the finale of the four-game series from Knights Stadium. With the win, the Knights guaranteed a winning month of May and earned a series split for the sixth consecutive four-game set.
The last time Gallagher hit a grand slam was on May 21, 2009 as a member of the Knights. He homered in Buffalo that day in front of family and friends against the Buffalo Bisons’ Chris Schwinden.
Gallagher finished Thursday night's contest 3-for-4 and bumped his average up to .297 for the year.
Beckham was also key to Charlotte's success on Thursday. Making his first rehab appearance with the Knights in Fort Mill this season and sixth overall of 2013, Beckham went 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. Chicago’s second baseman, who is recovering from a fractured left hand, is hitting .370 for the Knights this year.
Brent Morel continued his hot-hitting on Thursday. Morel went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs and has reached base in 25 of his last 26 games. He also extended his hit-streak to eight games.
Charlotte starter Andre Rienzo (4-3, 6.71) allowed two unearned runs on four hits over 5.1 innings for the win. The Brazilian native walked three and struck-out four.
LHP Leyson Septimo, who was also making a rehab appearance, came on to pitch the eighth inning and allowed a two-run home run to Danny Dorn. Septimo walked two batters and tossed 29 pitches on the night.
Charlotte (22-33) scored all eight runs off of Toledo starter Shawn Hill (0-6, 5.58). Hill gave up 12 of the 13 Knights hits. He lasted 5.1 innings before being replaced by reliever Matt Hoffman.
The Knights will now begin a series with the Rochester Red Wings on Friday from Knights Stadium. Gates open at 6:00 p.m. with first pitch scheduled for 7:15 p.m. LHP Charlie Leesman is set to make his 2013 home debut on Friday for Charlotte. RHP Cole De Vries will start Friday’s game for Rochester.