Olivia Picardo has made history.

An 18-year-old freshman from Brown University in Queens, N.Y., became the first woman in NCAA Division I history to be named college baseball roster. The University of Rhode Island celebrated the occasion in press releasesaying that Pichardo’s “dogged determination” allowed her to form the team.

Pichardo has played baseball since she was a child, starting in kindergarten. She played on the travel and college teams in middle school, and in 2022 finally tried out for the US women’s national baseball team, which was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to her time on the pitch as a pitcher and outfielder, she interned in the New York Mets scouting department.

Olivia Pichardo began her baseball career with Forest Hills Little League in New York City.

Brown University

Pichardo said that when she decided to attend Brown, she immediately focused on diamond baseball and the school’s team, the Brown Bears.

“As for me, I always just wanted to play college baseball, no matter what division it was,” Pichardo said.

According to the school, Pichardo participated in the team’s September trials, which was followed by a week-long evaluation process that included intensive training and practice with current players. In October, head coach Grant Achilles announced that Pichardo would be included in the squad for the 2023 season starting in February. Brown University shared a video of the moment on Instagramwhich showed the team cheering for Pichardo as she smiled.

“It was definitely a surreal moment for me because I’ve wanted this since eighth grade,” Pichardo said. “It’s kind of crazy to know that I’m now living my dream and my perfect college experience that I’ve always dreamed of, so that’s really cool.”

When the team’s season begins with Game Four at Georgia State University, Pichardo will serve as a utility player, meaning he can hold positions both in goal and on the field. She is one of the 31 players currently on the university’s list.

Olivia Pichardo Brown University baseball player
Olivia Pichardo at fall training with the Bears in November 2022.

Brown University

According Baseball for everyonea non-profit organization that works to improve baseball’s gender equality, at least eight women will play on collegiate baseball teams in the 2023 season, but none of Pichardo’s will be at the Division 1 level. A record number of women were enrolled on college baseball teams in 2020 and 2021, by organizationjust over 30 years after Julie Crouteau made history as the first woman to play for a varsity team in 1989.

“I’m very happy that we have more and more women in baseball at the collegiate level, and no matter what division it is, it’s just good to see that progress,” Pichardo said. “It’s really paving the way for other girls in the next generation to also have those goals they want to achieve, dream big, and know they can do it.”

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