March 1, 2011


Nine Innings with Jonathan Pace

By Phil Stanton Co-Founder


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' hit streak?

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 his streak?

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 career.


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 Louisiana?

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.