Max Aeschlimann looked right at home on the mound at AT&T Field on Thursday. Of course, he'd been there before.
The lanky, 6-foot-6 pitcher for West Georgia got some pivotal outs and the save in the No. 7 seeded Wolves' 2-1 first-round upset of No. 2 seed Alabama-Huntsville in the Gulf South Conference baseball tournament.
A former Chattanooga State player, and a Knoxville native, Aeschlimann twice visited the Chattanooga Lookouts' home field for their annual exhibitions. The circumstances were much different Thursday, but the moment was still one to remember.
"It's kind of cool, and it's nice to come back to a town that I'm familiar with and I'm not stepping on a field I've never seen before," said Aeschlimann, who earned his eighth save of the season. "I really enjoyed it."
Ace starter Jamie Sexton (9-4) pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings for the Wolves (25-22). West Georgia led the No. 21-ranked Chargers (33-14-1) 2-0 with two on and one out in the bottom of the seventh. Aeschlimann's long stride carried him to the mound after Sexton was pulled and in seconds he got Justin Pearson to ground into an inning-ending double play.
"It's great when somebody can come out of the bullpen and just hit a spot and allow their defense to do the job," Aeschlimann said. "I just threw a pitch, and they turned a beautiful double play."
Second baseman Tyler Landmon led the Wolves with three hits. First baseman Dylan Coleman, another former Chattanooga State player from Etowah, Tenn., went 1-for-4.
The Chargers got a run in the bottom of the eighth and things briefly got interesting in the ninth. It was a 1-2-3 inning, but on his first pitch to the second batter, Aeschlimann said he stepped in a hole and tweaked a groin muscle. After a brief visit from the trainer, Aeschlimann continued and got the final outs.
"Max has just been a savior for us all year," Wolves coach Skip Fite said.
The Wolves will face No. 6 seed West Alabama at 1 p.m. today, in the second round of the winner's bracket.
Contact John Frierson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MocsBeat.