Brown University has made history.
The program announced Monday that it will have the first woman in the history of NCAA Division I baseball to be on an active varsity roster. Olivia Pichardo, who had made the team after trying out as a walk-on in the fall, will serve as a utility player capable of playing infield and outfield.
The university announced the news Monday, but Brown baseball coach Grant Achilles informed the team of Pichardo’s addition during an Oct. 4 team meeting.
“I thought it was just a typical hitters and pitchers meeting,” Pichardo said in an article posted on the school’s website. “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.”
Pichardo had reached out to Achilles after she was accepted to Brown about trying out for the team. She went through fall workouts, practicing with other walk-on candidates and the team’s players for two weeks, shuffling between middle infielder, outfielder and pitcher.
“Olivia put together the most complete walk-on tryout I have seen from a player since becoming a head coach,” Achilles said, according to the article.
Per a non-profit that works to build gender equity in the sport, Baseball for All, almost 20 women have played college baseball at various institutions, with at least eight on rosters ahead of the 2023 season. Pichardo is the only one to be on a Division I roster.
“I think that’s really cool that we’re having more and more female baseball players at the collegiate level, no matter what division it is,” Pichardo said in a video posted by the school’s baseball program. “It’s just really good to see this progression and I think that it’s really paving the way for other girls in the next generation to also have these goals that they want to achieve, that they dream big and know that they can do it.”