Brown’s Olivia Pichardo becomes first woman on DI NCAA baseball roster

Olivia Pichardo/Brown University

Freshman Olivia Pichardo made Brown University’s baseball roster as the first woman named to a Division I NCAA baseball team.

Brown announced the news Monday after Pichardo made the cut following an open tryout. She’s one of 31 players listed on the roster ahead of the spring season. She’ll play as a utility player.

Julie Croteau was believed to be the first woman to play for an NCAA baseball team in the post-World War II era when she made the St. Mary’s College of Maryland roster in 1989. Since then, multiple women have played on college baseball teams at Division II or below, including eight scheduled to play in the upcoming season, according to Brown. None of them have played at the NCAA’s highest level.

“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, per Brown.

Her teammates gave her a round of applause when head coach Grant Achilles announced that she’d made the team.

Per her Brown bio, Pichardo started playing baseball as a Little Leaguer in New York and went on to play at the varsity level in high school in addition to playing for club teams. She made the U.S. Women’s National Team roster this year as a pitcher and outfielder and played against Canada in the five-game Friendship Series over the summer.

Achilles said that he was wowed by her workout during the open tryouts in the fall.

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

Pichardo said that Brown players have fully embraced her throughout the process of trying out and making the team.

“Everybody was super welcoming, and I really felt that from my teammates,” she said.

Brown opens its season Feb. 24 against Georgia State.