March 1, 2011
By Phil Stanton
Jonathan Pace is a junior third baseman at
Southeastern Louisiana. He has helped the Lions to a 6-1 start
by hitting .367 with one homer, 11 runs and five RBI.
Southeastern started the season by taking two of
three at FIU. Pace made a diving stop in the eighth inning of
the opener to snap the 56-game hit streak of Garrett Wittels.
After winning at home against Tulane last
Tuesday, the Lions went to Mobile this past weekend and defeated
Alabama, UCF and host South Alabama in its tournament.
Pace, from Terry, Miss., played for the past two
years at Meridian Community College. He batted .367 as a
freshman and .431 a season ago with 19 doubles and 40 RBI.
Pace recently took time to answer our questions.
First Inning - What have been the keys to the
Lions getting off to such a strong start?
I think the key to our strong start is leadership
from our coaches and players. They have pushed us to be at our
best and play Lion baseball every day, no matter the opponent.
Second Inning - Did you feel pressure coming
into the season as the lone newcomer in the field for the Lions?
I have never felt any pressure since being here
at Southeastern. The players and coaches have taken me in and
treated me like I've been here from the beginning. I would not
want to be anywhere else but here.
Third Inning - How did your two years at
Meridian CC prepare you for a starting spot at Southeastern?
I was fortunate to have been under the influence
of great coaches at Meridian, Head Coach Chris Rose and former
Lion Dillon Sudduth. Without the great coaching and experience
at Meridian, I would not be where I am today. Coach Sudduth was
my position coach and taught me how to play Lion baseball,
before I even knew I would be at Southeastern.
Fourth Inning - How big was it Friday to get a
win over Alabama, the first in 11 tries for the Lions?
It was a great win for our program and players.
This is a very mature club and we play the same way, no matter
the opponent. Not to be cocky but we expect to win every game,
if we execute and stick to the plan.
Fifth Inning - Was it difficult to concentrate
on Opening Day at FIU with all the attention on Garrett Wittels'
Honestly, I do not think anybody on the team
realized how much attention he received until we watched the
replay on ESPN3. We did an excellent job not getting caught up
in the hype and just playing the game.
Sixth Inning - Can you describe the play you
made on the ball Wittels hit to you in the eighth which ended
The bases were loaded and it was a big moment in
the game, not only because he was up to the plate but because a
hit could have possibly put them back in the game. When he hit
it down the line, my first thought was to just get in front of
it and save a run. It snuck up on me a little and forced me to
use my backhand, then instincts took over and I ran to third for
the force out.
Seventh Inning - Was it one of the top plays
you've made in your career in the field?
Considering it was on national TV and a 56-game
hitting streak on the line, yes it was the top play of my
Eighth Inning - Do you play differently in the
field with the new bats this season?
It has taken some getting used to because the
ball comes off the bat differently from the old bats. But I
would not say I am playing any differently than I always have.
Ninth Inning - Will Tuesday's game at LSU
determine the best college baseball team in the state of
There is no doubt it is a big game, but we are
approaching it like any other game. As for the best team in
Louisiana, I would say it's too early to determine. We are just
going to play and let the experts decide.