AMHERST, Mass. -- The No. 11 nationally ranked Bates men's lacrosse team got two goals apiece from sophomore Matt Chlastawa and senior captain Clarke Jones but fell 9-7 in the Bobcats' season opener Saturday to No. 3 RIT in a neutral site contest played at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Neither team led by more than two goals on the afternoon.
The Tigers (2-0) led 7-5 with 11:42 remaining in regulation after Aidan Milburn scored his third goal of the game.
But the Bobcats (0-1) rallied thanks to the tremendous play of Chlastawa (Westfield, Mass.), who scored his second goal of the day on an assist from fellow sophomore Curtis Knapton (Westbrook, Maine) with 9:44 left. Then less than a minute later, Chlastawa found junior Matt Kelleher (Newburyport, Mass.) from behind the net and Kelleher struck from 15 yards out straight on to tie the game at seven.
Chlastawa tallied two assists to go along with his two goals against the Tigers.
With 6:28 left, Cam Isaac connected with Kyle Killen for the go-ahead score and the Tigers never gave up the lead after that. Shawn Nally added an insurance tally on an assist from Beau Riley with 3:43 remaining.
Isaac and Killen scored two goals apiece and they both dished out an assist as well.
Both goalkeepers played very well, with the Tigers' Walker Hare recording 12 saves on 19 shots and sophomore Rob Strain (Montclair, N.J.) tallying 14 saves on 23 opportunities for the Bobcats.
The Tigers outshot the Bobcats 45-33 and won the turnover battle as well, causing 20 Bates turnovers while only turning the ball over 12 times themselves.
Bates grabbed the early lead on Saturday when Jones (Pepper Pike, Ohio) scored with 12:16 left in the first quarter. Senior Jack Maritz (St. Louis, Mo.) followed with a goal of his own to put Bates up 2-0 with 10:26 to go in the opening quarter of action.
But Milburn finished off the first quarter by scoring two goals for the Tigers, knotting the score at two after one.
After RIT went up 3-2 on a Killen goal with 13:14 left in the second quarter, Chlastawa appeared to score the game-tying goal, only to have the tally waived off by an offsides call. Eli Salama added a goal for the Tigers before Jones cut the deficit to one with 36 seconds remaining in the opening half.
RIT won the ensuing faceoff and called timeout. Then Isaac scored with just four seconds left to give the Tigers a 5-3 lead at the halftime break.
Chlastawa refused to back down, scoring his first goal of the afternoon with 12:45 to go in the third quarter, trimming the RIT lead to 5-4.
The Tigers went back up by two on an Isaac goal with 8:42 left.
The score stayed 6-4 until a slashing call on RIT's Matt Pogue gave the Bobcats a man-up opportunity. Bates took advantage, with Chlastawa finding Knapton with 1:15 left in the third, making the score 6-5 in favor of the Tigers.
Bates went 1-3 in man-up opportunities while RIT went 0-2.
Milburn's goal in the fourth quarter pushed the lead back to two, setting up the exciting finish.
The Bobcats are back in action Wednesday when they host Babson at 5:00 p.m. on Garcelon Field.