Olivia Pichardo becomes the first woman to play in a Division I baseball game

(CNN) Brown University Bears freshman Olivia Pichardo became the first woman to play in a Division I baseball game on Friday.

Pichardo pinched the batter late in the ninth inning, smashing through first base as the Bears lost to the Bryant University Bulldogs 10-1 at Murray Stadium in Providence, Rhode Island.

After the game, Pichardo said she wanted more girls to know it was possible for them to play baseball.

“I just hope that young girls can look and see that it’s possible; that it’s not just a dream but it’s a tangible goal that they can have,” she said after the game, according to the team’s website.

“I really hope there will be a whole new wave and generation of girls who come and try to go as far as I did, and further in baseball.”

Brown’s baseball head coach Grant Achilles said players should be judged only on their skills, nothing else.

“I hope Olivia’s accomplishments show people that if someone is talented enough to have an opportunity, they should be judged solely on their baseball abilities. No other factors should play into that,” said Achilles, according to the team’s website.

“Olivia is an example of that. It’s not just her putting all her hard work and effort into it, but a whole network of people who have supported her along the way.”

Pichardo, a native of Queens, New York, played for the United States Women’s National Baseball Team in 2022.

Brown rookie Olivia Pichardo pinch hit in the bottom of the ninth inning.

“Kelsie Whitmore has been an inspiration to me for a long time,” Pichardo told the team’s website, referring to the 24-year-old pitcher and outfielder who signed with the Staten Island FerryHawks of the Atlantic League in April 2022. .

Whitmore is the first woman to join a league affiliated with Major League Baseball.

“She was the first female baseball player I heard of and I’ve been following her journey ever since,” added Pichardo. I was lucky enough to play on the same team as her on the United States Women’s National Baseball Team.”

Brown and Bryant will play a doubleheader on Saturday.

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