Brown's Olivia Pichardo becomes first woman to play in D-I NCAA baseball game

Olivia Pichardo/Brown University
Olivia Pichardo/Brown University

Months after becoming the first woman named to a Division I baseball roster, Olivia Pichardo made her NCAA diamond debut Friday.

The Brown freshman took the plate as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the ninth inning against Bryant. She grounded out to first base as Bryant went on to a 10-1 victory. She's the first woman to play in a Division I game.

Pichardo made the team in the fall as one of 31 players initially named to the roster following an open tryout. Now she's one of 36. She got her first look at live action 11 games into the season.

"Olivia put together the most complete walk-on tryout I have seen from a player since becoming a head coach,” coach Grant Achilles said in the fall.

Pichardo received a round of applause from her teammates when Achilles announced in November that she'd made the team.

“I’m just really glad that we’re having more and more female baseball players at the collegiate level, and no matter what division, it’s just really good to see this progression,” Pichardo said at the time via a Brown statement.

Pichardo isn't the first woman to play NCAA baseball since the World War II era. That honor is believed to belong to Julie Croteau, who made the St. Mary's College of Maryland roster in 1989. She paved the way for multiple women to play college baseball at Division II or below. But none played at Division I until Pichardo on Friday.

Per her Brown bio, Pichardo got her start in baseball as a Little Leaguer in New York. She then played varsity baseball in high school in addition to playing for club teams. She made the U.S. Women's National Team roster in 2022 as a pitcher and outfielder and played against Canada in the five-game Friendship Series.

Now she's officially 0-for-1 with a groundout as an NCAA player. With Brown scheduled to play through the Ivy League tournament in May, there could be more opportunities to come for Pichardo.