The Cardinals, who turned in a team score of 298 on Saturday at Longaberger Golf Club, will enter Sunday's final round in third place with a 54-hole total of 899 (+35).
Ball State is three shots behind Toledo for second place and three shots ahead of Akron for third. Kent State is leading the tournament at 878 (+14) after posting a 1-under third round and owns an 18-stroke advantage on the rest of the field.
Merkel sits in third place individually at 1-over par for the tournament after carding a 71 in the third round. The junior from Evansville, Ind., had four birdies and three bogeys on the day and continues to lead Ball State.
Kent State's Taylor Pendrith stands atop the leaderboard at 8-under, while Akron's Charlie Bull is second at even-par after climbing up the standings with a third-round 68 for the low score of the day.
Stinson, who had his round as low as 2-under par early on the back nine, moved into a tie for 12th with his round of 73. He is now 10-over par for the tournament.
Merkel, Stinson and Joe Gasser were all even-par or better on the front nine Saturday to help keep the Cardinals in the mix. Gasser finished his day with a 76 and will enter Sunday's closing 18 holes tied for 21st with a three-round total of 231.
Teammate Tony Lazzara is three shots ahead of Gasser in a tie for 17th after carding a 78. Lazzara steadied his round after starting 6-over through the first five holes. He played the next 12 holes at 2-under before a closing double bogey.
Brodie Williams turned in a third-round 85, which was the team's non-counting score. He is tied for 36th at 239 for the tournament.
Ball State will once again be grouped with Kent State and Toledo for Sunday's final round. The Cardinals' tee times begin at 9:30 a.m. Live scoring is available at golfstat.com.