SEC softball tournament: Players to watch and more _lowres

Kentucky's Kelsey Nunley pitches against Louisiana-Lafayette during the first inning of an NCAA Women's College World Series softball tournament game in Oklahoma City, Thursday, May 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

Players to watch

INF Tina Iosefa, Georgia

The top of the Bulldogs’ explosive order routinely provides scoring opportunities, and Iosefa takes advantage of them. She is one of the most feared power hitters in the league, having hit 19 home runs and driven in 121.

P Aleshia Ocasio, Florida

The sophomore is second nationally in ERA (0.71) behind LSU’s Sydney Smith (0.59). Though top-ranked Florida already has a national seed locked up, Ocasio will lead the way as the Gators tune up for a run at a third consecutive national title.

P Kelsey Nunley, Kentucky

Look no further than Nunley’s performance against LSU as an indication of her skill. The senior allowed no runs in two wins against the Tigers, proving her offense needs to provide little support to win when she’s pitching.

INF Kasey Cooper, Auburn

Auburn likes to swing big, and none of the Tigers swings bigger than Cooper. The former first-team All-American is tied for the league lead in home runs (19) and has a .939 slugging percentage.

OF Haylie McCleney, Alabama

The Tide lost its first-round bye on the final day of the season but remains dangerous. McCleney has the SEC’s third-best batting average (.441) as Alabama’s leadoff hitter and can help the Tide build an early lead for its dominant pitching staff.

Team with the most to gain: LSU

After winning 12 of their last 13 games, including two against No. 11 Washington, the Tigers are starting to show the form of the preseason No. 3 team. An SEC tournament title could put them on the cusp of a top-eight national seed.

Team with the most to lose: Auburn

After losing four of their last five games, the Tigers slipped to the No. 4 seed and have the No. 8 RPI. A quick exit from the tournament could loosen their hold on a national seed. They face Alabama or host Mississippi State in the quarterfinals Thursday.

Dark-horse contender: Georgia

A first-round win over Ole Miss would give the Bulldogs a game against top-seeded Florida, which will have little to play for. If it catches fire at the right time, Georgia’s third-ranked offense (.357 batting average) could carry it to the weekend.

The schedule

Wednesday (all games on SEC Network)

Game 1: No. 6 Missouri vs. No. 11 South Carolina, 11 a.m.

Game 2: No. 7 LSU vs. No. 10 Texas A&M, 1:30 p.m.

Game 3: No. 8 Georgia vs. No. 9 Ole Miss, 4 p.m.

Game 4: No. 5 Alabama vs. No. 12 Mississippi State, 6:30 p.m.

Thursday (all games on SEC Network)

Game 5: No. 3 Tennessee vs. Game 1 winner, 11 a.m.

Game 6: No. 2 Kentucky vs. Game 2 winner, 1:30 p.m.

Game 7: No. 1 Florida vs. Game 3 winner, 4 p.m.

Game 8: No. 4 Auburn vs. Game 4 winner, 6:30 p.m.

Friday (all games on ESPNU)

Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 2 p.m.

Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner, 4:30 p.m.

Saturday (ESPN)

Championship, 4 p.m.