NCAA D1 baseball standout Olivia Pichardo is officially in a league of her own

    The GIST: Brown freshman Olivia Pichardo is officially in a league of her own. The school announced on Monday that the utility player has become the first woman ever named to an active DI baseball roster. A grand slam, indeed.

    The trailblazer: Hailing from Queens, NY, Pichardo has played ball since she was 5 years old and also takes the field for the U.S. women’s national baseball team as a pitcher and outfielder. Once arriving at Brown in September, she tried out for the team as a walk-on, quickly impressing head coach (HC) Grant Achilles.

    • Achilles, who’s led the Bears since 2014, said with her strength, athleticism and versatility, Pichardo “put together the most complete walk-on tryout I have seen from a player since becoming a HC.” Talk about sliding into first.

    Previous game-changers: While Pichardo is breaking DI barriers, 18 other women have played or are playing college ball at the Division II level or below. The original collegiate pioneer? First baseman Julie Crouteau, who took the field for St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 1989.

    • According to the sport’s gender equity nonprofit Baseball for All, nine women, including Pichardo, will head into collegiate dugouts this spring.
    • Reflecting on the increase in female collegiate players, Pichardo said she’s “really glad… to see this progression. It’s really paving the way for other girls in the next generation to also…dream big and know that they can do it.” Preach.

    Next up to bat: Pichardo’s name will officially be inked in the NCAA DI history books when Brown plays their first game against Georgia State on February 24th. Take us out to that ballgame.

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