Third-seeded Alabama (+16, 592) started the round hot and held a five-shot lead on the front nine before struggling on the final eight holes. UA is four shots back of top-seed UCLA, who shot 1-over 289 in the second round, while California is second at 13-over 589. Alabama is tied with Florida, who carded its second straight 296 on Friday. Ohio State is fifth at 593 while Mississippi State and Oklahoma State are tied for eighth at 20-over 596.
"We are here to win the tournament, and we are still within four shots of the lead, but we had as five-shot lead at one point," Alabama head coach Mic Potter said. "I was disappointed that we let the lead slip away, but we still have chance to win. Tomorrow we are going to have to avoid the big numbers and make some birdies. I'm not sure if we got tired or were just sloppy today, but in this situation, we just can't afford to make doubles, triples and quads."
The top-eight finishers at the NCAA Central Regional will advance to the NCAA Championships at Tulsa Country Club on May 20-23 in Tulsa, Okla., and join the teams that have advanced from the NCAA East and West Regionals.
Senior Stephanie Meadow paced Alabama on Friday with a 2-under-par 70 to move into a tie for third place at 1-under 143. Kent State's Wad Phaewchimplee leads all golfers at 6-under 138. Sophomore Emma Talley followed up her opening round 68 with a 75 in round two and joins Meadow in a tie for third at 143.
Mia Landegren and Janie Jackson provided Alabama's third and fourth scores on Friday. The freshman Landegren shot 75 and is tied for 56th at 9-over 153 while Jackson shot 77. Cammie Gray's 78 was dropped from the team total.
The Crimson Tide will play with Ohio State and Kent State in Saturday's final round at Karsten Creek.