MISSOULA — Brenden Concepcion turned in a pitching gem in leading the Billings Royals to a 4-1 win over the Missoula AA Mavericks in the first game of a doubleheader Tuesday at Lindborg-Cregg Field.

Concepcion struck out four and allowed just one run on one hit in six innings of duty. Nick Eliason came on to pitch the seventh in helping the Royals (5-8) earn their third straight win and snap a two-game win streak for the hosts.

The Royals' win streak came to an end in the nightcap as the Mavericks (13-10) rolled to a 5-0 victory. Nolan McCaffery was masterful on the mound for the hosts, allowing just one hit while striking out eight in six innings. Zach Hangas came on to pitch the seventh for Missoula.

Ayden Markovich and Bridger Johnson led the Mavs at the plate with two hits apiece. Drew Stensrud, Charlie Kirgan and Chris Dill also recorded a hit. Dill had two RBIs.

Eliason had the only hit for the Royals.  

In the opener, Billings jumped in front in the third when Noah Aufdengarten drew a two-out walk and scored on a Jaeden Jordahl double. The Royals stretched their lead to 3-0 with a pair of runs in the fifth. Aiden Montez doubled to kickstart the rally and scored on a two-out triple by Jordahl.

Missoula scored its only run in the bottom of the fifth. Johnson lived on an error and scored on a Markovich single.

Jordahl and Elaison were the heroes at the plate for Billings with two hits apiece. Alex Certel took the loss on the mound, allowing four runs on eight hits in seven innings.

The Mavericks and Royals will be back in action Wednesday when they play another doubleheader at Lindborg-Cregg Field. The first game starts at noon.

Bill Speltz is Missoulian Sports Editor and has served as Sunday columnist the past 14 years. Do you have a story idea? Email Bill at bill.speltz@missoulian.com.

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