On Friday (March 17), Olivia Pichardo, a freshman pinch hitter at Brown University, wrote her name into the collegiate sports history books when she became the first woman to play in an NCAA Division I baseball game.
Pichardo, who is of Dominican descent, stepped up to the plate at the bottom of the ninth inning during a game against Bryant University. Although she grounded out to first base, Pichardo said she was glad to connect with the ball on her first at-bat.
“It was a lot of fun,” Pichardo said in a video posted by Brown and herself on their social media accounts. “I think it’s nice to get your first out of the way. There probably are not going to be as many nerves or anything for the rest of my at-bats that I get. It was a really special moment.”
After the game, Brown coach Grant Achilles told ESPN that he hoped Pichardo’s debut with the team shows people that the only factor that is important to play NCAA Division I baseball is whether a player is talented enough to get the opportunity.
“They should be judged solely on their baseball abilities,” he said. “Liv is an example of that.”
Achilles added that while Pichardo has put “all the work and effort” into making the team, the support she has received from her teammates has also been invaluable.
“Her teammates are a special group to be able to both realize how historic this moment is but also to hold her accountable as a teammate to our standard as a baseball player,” he said. “I think that’s been the most beautiful part of it for me is that she is a teammate.”
Congratulations Olivia Pichardo and good luck as you pave your way!