Brown University Freshman Becomes First Female Baseball Player On Division-I Level

Brown University baseball announced a historic roster move on Monday. The Bears are adding Olivia Pichardo to the varsity roster, which makes her the first female baseball player in Division-I history.

Olivia Pichardo at practice. (Images courtesy: Brown University Athletics)

Pichardo, a freshman, tried out for the program earlier this fall and was offered the opportunity to join the 31-(wo)man roster as a walk-on. She will serve as a utility player who can play both the infield and the outfield.

Head coach Grant Achilles, who Brown bizarrely refers to as the ‘head coaching chair,’ broke the news to Pichardo during a meeting in October.

Her reaction was somewhere between complete shock and pure joy.

I thought it was just a typical hitters and pitchers meeting. And all of a sudden, (Achilles) made the transition to announcing to everyone that I made the spring roster. That definitely took me by surprise, and everyone was super happy about it. It was a surreal moment for me because it’s something I’ve wanted since eighth grade. It’s kind of crazy to know that I’m living out my dream right now and the ideal college experience that I’ve always wanted, so that’s really cool.

— Olivia Pichardo on making the Brown baseball team

It was a really remarkable moment that broke barriers and it’s well-deserved.

Prior to enrolling at Brown for the fall semester, Olivia Pichardo made her mark on the baseball diamond.

The Queens, New York-native was a member of the USA Baseball Women’s National Team.

When not competing for her country, Pichardo played for the New York Crush, one of the most prominent travel baseball organizations in the state, as well as Next Level Baseball, one of the best baseball programs in the northeast. She also played varsity high school baseball as both a seventh and eighth grader.

Pichardo is legit.

Every fall, we hold tryouts for students interested in joining our team. It’s a workout common for baseball and allows us to evaluate athleticism and arm strength, as well as both offensive and defensive skills. That day, Olivia put together the most complete walk-on tryout I have seen from a player since becoming a head coach.

— Brown head coach Grant Achilles on Pichardo’s play

Before Pichardo made history this fall, nearly 20 women had been members of a collegiate baseball roster at various institutions. At least eight are slated to suit up in 2023.

None, however, played or play on the Division-I level. Pichardo is one of one and she is only looking to elevate her play before her first season rolls around.

I’m just honestly trying to develop myself as a baseball player and not trying to think too broadly. For me, I always just wanted to play college baseball, no matter what division it was. This school happens to be a Division I team that I walked onto.

— Olivia Pichardo on living out her dream

Pichardo and the rest of the Brown baseball team will open up the 2023 season on February 24-26 with a four-game series at Georgia State. If/when she gets into a game this spring, it will mark the first time that a female has seen the field for a D-I program.

Written by Grayson Weir

Grayson doesn't drink coffee. He wakes up Jacked.

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