When Olivia Pichardo walked up to the batter’s box Friday and her name was announced as a pinch hitter, the Brown University reserve made history.
Pichardo became the first female to compete in an NCAA Division I baseball game.
“And now batting for Brown, No. 19, Olivia Pichardo.”
HISTORY! Olivia Pichardo becomes the first female in history to appear in an NCAA Division I baseball game #EverTrue pic.twitter.com/35mqSIl7rS
— Brown Baseball (@BrownU_Baseball) March 17, 2023
Brown’s Olivia Pichardo Makes NCAA D-I History
A smattering of cheers followed the public address announcement.
In the batter’s box, Pichardo did not allow the significance of the moment to simmer.
On the first pitch she saw, Pichardo made contact and hustled down the first-base line. Bryant’s Carmine Petosa fielded the grounder for the ninth-inning out during Brown’s 10-1 defeat at Attanasio Family Field in Providence, Rhode Island.
Pichardo is one of eight females listed on college baseball rosters, but the only one competing at the D-1 level, according to NCAA.com.
A native of Queens, New York, Pichardo has played baseball since she was in kindergarten and matured into a member of the 2022 USA Baseball Women’s National Team before walking on at Brown. With the national team, the versatile Pichardo pitched and played the outfield.
Brown coach Grant Achilles was instantly impressed with Pichardo.
“Every fall, we hold tryouts for students interested in joining our team,” Brown coach Grant Achilles said, as reported by CBS Sports. “It’s a workout common for baseball and allows us to evaluate athleticism and arm strength, as well as both offensive and defensive skills.
“Olivia put together the most complete walk-on tryout I have seen from a player since becoming a head coach.”
Here's Olivia Pichardo making history as the first woman to play in an NCAA Division I baseball game today for Brown. (First-pitch groundout.) pic.twitter.com/aQDiWovrEe
— David Adler (@_dadler) March 17, 2023
Olivia Pichardo Hopes To Inspire ‘New Wave’ Of Players
Pichardo honed her skills playing club baseball for the New York Crush and Next Level Baseball. She also interned for the New York Mets’ amateur scouting department last summer. A three-sport prep standout at Garden School, Pichardo was named the girls’ basketball MVP each year from the seventh grade to her senior season.
Pichardo’s inspiration came from following the career of USA Baseball Women’s National Team player Kelsie Whitmore.
Pichardo received an opportunity to play with her athletic hero. In the future, she hopes to return the favor.
“I just hope that young girls can watch and see that this is possible; that it’s not just a dream but it is a tangible goal they can have,” she told BrownBears.com after the game. “I really hope that there is a whole new wave and generation of girls that come around and try to make it as far as I have, and further in baseball.”