TCU catcher Alex Isola called it the best catch he’s ever seen.
‘Holy cow’ is the first phrase that came to coach Jim Schlossnagle’s mind. Starter Nick Lodolo can’t remember an outfielder ever robbing a would-be home run on his behalf.
Johnny Rizer’s home-run robbing catch was that special. That ridiculous. That talked about on Friday night.
“That’s the best catch I’ve ever seen,” Isola said. “I’ve seen a lot of catches, but he was full diagonal. If that’s not No.1 on SportsCenter, I’m going to be disappointed for sure.”
Said Schlossnagle: “Holy cow. Obviously I saw him run into the fence and catch it. He’s an elite defender in center field.”
The play happened in the fourth inning of TCU’s 3-2 walk-off victory over Texas to start Big 12 play on Friday night at Lupton Stadium.
Lodolo had been matching zeroes with Texas starter Bryce Elder. Then Longhorns slugger Zach Zubia ripped a hard line drive destined for the brush beyond the right-center field fence.
Rizer sprinted to the wall, leapt and brought the would-be two-run homer back into the ballpark.
“I wasn’t really expecting to rob a ball tonight, but it happened,” Rizer said. “Lodolo was lights out and Zubia smacks one. I started sprinting back, jumped on the wall and brought it back down. It was crazy.”
Rizer called it the best catch of his baseball career. None of his teammates would argue that.
“Oh, that was an unbelievable play,” said Adam Oviedo, who delivered the walk-off heroics in the ninth.
“That ball took off. At first I didn’t know if he caught it or not. Instant chills went down my body [when I saw he caught it]. That was awesome. Something I’ll never forget.”
Said Lodolo: “When he went up and casually came down, I’m like, ‘No way he caught that. Then he flipped the ball up.’ I’m like, ‘You’re acting that calm after you did that?
“That was an unbelievable catch. Best catch I’ve ever seen.”
TCU and Texas play again on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Lupton Stadium.