Olivia Pichardo becomes first woman to play in Division I baseball game
Brown University Bears freshman utility player Olivia Pichardo became the first woman to play in a Division I baseball game on Friday.
Pichardo pinch-hit in the bottom of the ninth inning, grounding out to first base as the Bears went on to lose to the Bryant University Bulldogs 10-1 at Murray Stadium in Providence, Rhode Island.
After the game, Pichardo said she wants more girls to know it is possible for them to play baseball.
“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 said after the game, according to the team website.
“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.”
Brown’s head baseball coach Grant Achilles said players should be judged only on skills, nothing else.
“I hope Olivia’s accomplishments show people that if someone is talented enough to be given an opportunity, they should be judged solely on their baseball abilities. No other factors should play into that,” Achilles said, according to the team website.
“Olivia is an example of that. It is not just her putting all the work and effort in, but an entire network of people who have supported her along the way.”
Pichardo, who is from Queens, New York, played for the USA Baseball Women’s National Team in 2022.
“Kelsie Whitmore has been an inspiration for me for a long time,” Pichardo told the team website, referring to the 24-year-old pitcher and outfielder who signed with the Atlantic League’s Staten Island FerryHawks in April 2022.
Whitmore is the first woman to join a league affiliated with Major League Baseball.
“She was the first female baseball player I had ever heard of and ever since, I have been following her journey,” added Pichardo. I had the chance to play on the same team as her on the USA Baseball Women’s National Team.”
Brown and Bryant will play a doubleheader Saturday.