AMHERST, Mass. -- No. 4 nationally ranked Amherst ran away from a close contest in the first half to defeat the Bates men's lacrosse team 26-12 Saturday on Pratt Field.
Amherst (12-2, 8-1 NESCAC) stayed tied with Tufts (Bates' opponent on Wednesday) and Wesleyan for first place in the NESCAC standings.
Bates (7-7, 3-6 NESCAC) is tied with Colby (6-6, 3-6 NESCAC) for eighth place in the conference, with eight teams invited to the NESCAC Championship tournament. That sets up a play-in scenario for the rivals' regular-season finale, which takes place Wednesday 4pm at Colby.
Amherst exacted a measure of revenge after losing both matchups against Bates in the 2017 season -- a 23-17 Bates win in the regular season and a 26-14 Bates win in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament.
The two sides traded scores throughout a back-and-forth first period, with Bates opening the game with goals from sophomore Brendan Mullally (Baltimore, Md.) and Curtis Knapton (Westbrook, Maine) to jump out to a 2-0 lead.
Amherst's Jon Coffey and Dylan Finazzo each potted unassisted goals in a seven second span in the 11th minute, before senior Clarke Jones (Pepper Pike, Ohio) put the Bobcats in front again, 3-2 at the 10:16 mark.
Coffey and Logan Lair added two more goals with assists from Ian Kadish and Jimmy McAfee, but a tally by Knapton with 8:06 once again deadlocked the score.
Amherst closed out the quarter with three of the last five goals, as Drew Kelleher, Coffey and Jordan Sanford scored for the Mammoths while Mullally and senior Burke Smith (Wilton, Conn.) netted goals for the Bobcats to set the score at 7-6 after 15 minutes of play.
Padding their lead to three, the Mammoths outscored Bates 5-3 in the second stanza to own a 12-9 lead at intermission. Evan Wolf and sophomore Matt Chlastawa (Westfield, Mass.) each scored in the first six minutes to kick off the period, before Amherst went on a 3-0 run, including two goals from Colin Minicus, to make it 11-7.
Senior Jack Maritz (St. Louis, Mo.) and Chlastawa sandwiched a player-up goal by Amherst's Trenton Shore in the final five minutes before the buzzer as Amherst held on to a three-goal lead.
Amherst broke the game open in the second half, outscoring Bates 14-3 over the final 30 minutes of play. Wolf notched back-to-back unassisted goals before Coffey scored with 11:15 on the clock to push the score to 15-9.
Jones logged what stood as Bates' lone goal of the quarter at the 9:26 mark, before Amherst responded with four unanswered tallies from Minicus, Wolf and Coffey (2) to take a nine-goal lead. Matching their seven-goal effort in the fourth quarter, Amherst set a team record with their 26th goal.
Mullally and Smith notched the final Bates goals at the 7:45 and 6:28 marks, respectively.
Mullally finished with a team-high three goals to go with one assist, while Chlastawa scored twice and added four assists. Jones, Smith and Knapton scored two times apiece, with Jones adding an assist and five ground balls.