Olivia Pichardo is making history.
The Brown University freshman will become the first female athlete to make a Division I baseball team.
“It was definitely a surreal moment for me because it’s something that I’ve wanted since eighth grade,” Pichardo said about making the team. “It’s kind of crazy to know that I’m living out my dream right now and my ideal college experience that I’ve always wanted, so that’s really cool.”
Pichardo, 18, is a walk-on to the Brown team. She’s a utility player, meaning she is able to play a variety of positions on the field. The native of Queens, New York, played baseball in high school. She also played with Team USA this summer and participated in several series with the team.
Brown coach Grant Achilles said this week that Pichardo made the roster after a great performance during the team’s fall practices.
“Olivia put together the most complete walk-on tryout I have seen from a player since becoming a head coach,” Achilles said.
According to the nonprofit Baseball for All, an organization that aims to “build gender equity in baseball,” nearly 20 women have been on college baseball rosters at NCAA schools, and at least eight are set to be on rosters for the 2023 season. But none of those athletes have been on rosters at the Division I level, as Pichardo now is.
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“I’m just really glad that we’re having more and more female baseball players at the collegiate level, and no matter what division, it’s just really good to see this progression,” Pichardo said. “It’s really paving the way for other girls in the next generation to also have these goals that they want to achieve and dream big and know that they can do it.”