Both golfers are among the top 20 individually, and the Cardinals are tied for seventh as a team through two rounds on the par-71 Scarlet Course at the Ohio State University Golf Club.
The tournament will conclude Monday with the final round, beginning on split tees. The Cardinals will go off on the back nine starting at 9:05 a.m., and live scoring is available at golfstat.com.
Four of the six teams ahead of Ball State played alongside the Cardinals at last year’s NCAA Nationals: California, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kent State.
Cal is the only team under par and leads the 12-team field with a two-round total of 7-under 561 (281-280). The Bears own a 12-shot lead on Oklahoma. Ball State’s score of 598 (298-300) puts the Cardinals in a seventh-place tie with tournament host Ohio State.
Merkel is tied for ninth place individually with a 1-over par total of 143 (70-73). The senior was steady Sunday with 29 pars in his 36 holes and finds himself five shots off the lead held by Cal’s Brandon Hagy.
Clouser, Ball State’s top finisher at last week’s Saint Mary’s Invitational, is three shots behind Merkel in a tie for 16th place at 4-over 146 (72-74).
The Cardinals also counted scores from freshman Keegan McKinney in both of Sunday’s rounds. McKinney led the team with six birdies on the day and finished in a tie for 36th at 152 (75-77).
The Cardinals will enter the final round trailing Mississippi State by six strokes for sixth place and Kent State by seven for fifth.