Olivia Pichardo has made history.
The 18-year-old Brown University freshman from Queens, New York has become the first woman in NCAA Division I history to be named to a varsity baseball roster. The University of Rhode Island celebrated the occasion by issuing a press release, saying that Pichardo’s “determination” allowed him to make the team.
Pichardo has played baseball since she started in kindergarten. In middle school, she played on travel and varsity teams, and in 2022, she eventually tried out for the USA Baseball women’s national team, a goal that was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to his time on the field as a pitcher and outfielder, he interned with the New York Mets’ scouting department.
Pichardo said that when he committed to attend Brown, he immediately set his sights on the baseball diamond and the Brown Bears, the school’s team.
Pichardo said, “For me, I always wanted to play college baseball, no matter what division it was.”
According to the school, Pichardo participated in the team’s walk-on tryouts in September, followed by a week-long evaluation process that included intensive workouts and drills with current players. In October, head coach Grant Achilles announced that Pichardo would be on the roster for the 2023 season, which began in February. Brown University shared video of the moment on Instagram, which shows the team cheering as Pichardo smiled.
“It was definitely a surreal moment for me because it’s something I’ve wanted since eighth grade,” Pichardo said. “It’s kind of crazy to know that I’m living my dream right now and having my ideal college experience that I’ve always wanted, so that’s really cool.”
When the team’s season began with a four-game series at Georgia State University, Pichardo would serve as a utility player, meaning he could cover positions in both the infield and outfield. He is currently one of 31 players on the varsity’s roster.
At least eight women will play on collegiate baseball teams in the 2023 season, but none at the Division 1 level Pichardo, according to Baseball for All, a nonprofit that works to improve gender equality in baseball. According to the organization, a record number of women were included on college baseball teams in 2020 and 2021, exactly 30 years after Julie Crouteau made history in 1989 as the first woman to play on a college team.
Pichardo said, “I’m really pleased that we have more and more female baseball players at the collegiate level, and it’s really nice to see this progress no matter what.” “It’s really paving the way for other girls in the next generation to have these goals that they want to achieve and dream big and know they can do it.”