Tennessee center fielder Chris Fritts was sitting in his parents’ hotel room when the texts and calls started coming in.
Sitting on the bed next to his girlfriend and parents, Tom and Janet, who made the long drive from Houston to see their son play in a three-game homestand against No. 4 Florida, would turn into a moment they will never forget.
“My parents were here and in town this weekend from Texas,” Fritts said. “It was nice and really cool they got to see it. I was actually sitting with them and my girlfriend in their hotel room and people started messaging me and saying, ‘Look it’s on SportsCenter.’”
Fritts earned ESPN’s No. 1 spot on Top 10 plays following a miraculous diving catch during Saturday’s game against the Gators.
“I said that was the play of the day,” said UT coach Dave Serrano. “He’s continued to make spectacular plays and anchor out outfield for us.”
With a 2-2 pitcher’s count on Florida’s Tyler Thomas in the top of the fifth, Fritts and the Vols’ outfield shifted inward, preparing for a more defensive swing and shallow-hit ball.
Florida’s outfielder jumped in front a tailing fastball, sending a fly ball well over Fritts’ head.
“Being drawn in and all, I had to run ever father,” Fritts said. “He got a hold of it and put a good swing on it. I didn’t think I had a play on the ball until I was looking up on it. I got my feet under me and eyes on it and then it’s a matter to hold on to it. Once you catch it, it’s almost harder to just hold.
Tracking the ball into left-center field while glancing over his glove-side shoulder, Fritts left his feet, making a diving grab that brought a sold-out Lindsey Nelson Stadium to their feet.
 “I was pumped,” Fritts said. “Richard Carter was over there. I knew he was backing me up if worse came to worse. He was there to celebrate with me ’cause I couldn’t believe I caught it and neither could he.”
 Oddly enough, Fritts has never seen his play on national television.
“SportsCenter wasn’t on,” Fritts said. “(The play) was on ESPN News or something and in the hotel they didn’t get ESPN News so I couldn’t see it. It turns out I never got to see it. I never saw it on SportsCenter. I’ve still only seen the YouTube clip of it. I had already seen it and I wasn’t really worried about it.”
Perhaps Fritts wasn’t concerned with seeing his diving catch on ESPN’s Top 10 plays because he has been there once before.
The Houston native made an eerily similar grab on March 1 of his freshman season against Oregon State.
Playing left field, Fritts again chased a ball over his left shoulder, leaving his feet to make what has been termed his signature “acrobatic” catch. Only this time, Fritts popped up from the turf and fired the ball towards his cutoff man in a bang-bang play that doubled off an Oregon State base runner at first.
“It was at the very beginning of the season and one of my first starts of the year,” Fritts said. “We ended up doubling the guy off at first base, but we double him off which is what made it a top play. Seriously, if you watch the two plays they’re very similar — almost the exact same play. If you told me to remake that play right now I’d tell you I couldn’t do it.”
Fritts said being a two-time top 10 play winner leads to what he describes as endless jokes in the locker room.
 “They laugh and joke all the time,” he said. “Because I was on top 10 my freshman year. They give me so much crap because of the earlier one. They give me a hard time. They tell me, ‘I don’t know how you walk through the door with your head so big.’ It’s all in good fun, though.”
While both plays are similar, unlike his freshman year catch, Fritts got to do some of the joking himself after the Vols’ 5-4 win on April 14 against Florida.
Clinging to slim a 5-4 lead in the top of the ninth, the Vols got out of a bases-loaded jam following a game-ending double play on a sharply hit grounder to third.
“Third baseman who made the crazy diving play to end the game, Zach Luther? Yeah, he’s my roommate,” Fritts said. “He was a little bit sour that he didn’t get any credit and I got all the credit for my play. Oddly enough when I got back to my apartment that night, he didn’t know and I knew I was No. 1. When he found out it was hilarious. I couldn’t stop laughing.”
While Fritts said he will never forget his two diving catches that earned him national television honors, the junior claims that’s not why he plays.
“I want people to see me run hard and use my ability to the fullest,” he said. “I just want them to say, ‘Hey, he plays the game the right way and respects the game.’ I want to be a part of something great and lay the cement for the future here at UT.”