COLUMBIA, Mo–For the first time in more than a decade, Holly Hesse’s Missouri State softball team earned a bid to the NCAA tournament.

Friday afternoon they opened on the road in Columbia.

KOLR 10’s Dan Lindblad was at Mizzou and has the story.

Dan Lindblad:”What a way for the Missouri State Softball team to be reintroduced to the NCAA Tournament, with an opening round game against the Rival Mizzou Tigers.

The two haven’t met on the diamond since 2015 and the Bears haven’t won since 2006.

But all season they have ridden the motto Meraki, meaning leave something special behind.

They tried to do just that this afternoon in Columbia.

Mizzou hosting a regional for a second straight season.

It went to the supers last year.

Both defenses working early, here Daphne Plummer makes the great sliding catch out in shallow left, no score through one.

The Bears with an opportunity in the third with bases loaded but Laurin Krings gets Alex Boze to strikeout to end the threat.

7 of the first 9 Bears outs were on strikeouts.

Mizzou gets its first run across in the bottom half, Kendyll Bailey grounds into the fielders choice that scores Brooke Wilmes one nothing.

Next batter is Alex Honnold she hits it sharply to first, too hot to handle which allows Maddie Snider to score all of a sudden it’s two nothing.

Same score bottom five two outs with runners on the corners.

But Steffany Dickerson gets the swinging K to strand the base runners.

Steffany Dickerson/MSU Senior Pitcher:”Being out there and just seeing all of those fans and just seeing so many people love softball that was my childhood dream. Just to be here and to play in this environment. I really think that I went out there and did the best that I could.”

The Bears would breakthrough in the top of the sixth, following an Olivia Krehbiel leadoff double, Annie Mueller rifles it out to shallow center.

Krehbiel scores from second to make it 2-1.

Olivia Krehbiel/MSU junior 3B:”Going into conference and winning conference, I just knew going into this, especially with Stef out there on the mound, we are all just super confident in what we can do. We know that we can hang with any team that comes in front of us.”

But with two outs in the top of the sixth, the Tigers get it back.

Wilmes with a screamer to second, she beats the throw to first allowing Kendal Cook to score to get the two run lead back.

Mizzou wins 3-to-1.

Holly Hesse/MSU softball coach:”If we can compete with the number one seed in the regional, we can compete with the other two teams that are here. That’s the bottom line. We’ll just keep going out and playing as hard as we can, as well as we can for as long as we can and keep living our mission, keep living our values and keep living the dream.”

Lindblad: “The Bears will play tomorrow at 4:00 in an elimination game against Illinois.

In Columbia, Dan Lindblad ozarksfirst.