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Olivia Pichardo ’26 makes Bears debut, becomes first woman to play Division I Baseball

Team plays home opener against Bryant, set to begin Ivy League play next weekend

<p>Olivia Pichardo ’26 was named to the Bears’ roster in November, garnering national attention.</p><p></p><p>Courtesy of Brown Athletics</p>

Olivia Pichardo ’26 was named to the Bears’ roster in November, garnering national attention.

Courtesy of Brown Athletics

Olivia Pichardo ’26 made history on Friday, taking her first collegiate at-bat and becoming the first woman to play Division I Baseball.

A November press release announced that Pichardo had been named to the Bears’ roster, garnering national attention, the Herald previously reported.

“It’s nice to get your first out of the way,” Pichardo said following the game. “It was a really special moment.”

“It was the culmination of a lot of hard work for Liv,” Head Coach Grant Achilles said, adding that he is “just really proud of her for all that she’s done to get to this point.”


Pichardo’s debut came as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the ninth inning, with the baseball team (2-11) trailing 10-1 in their home opener against Bryant University (7-8).

“I had a plan, and I just stuck to it,” Pichardo said.

That plan: to be aggressive early. Pichardo pulled a first-pitch fastball from Bryant pitcher M.T. Morrissey, grounding out sharply to first base.

Pichardo didn’t want the weight of the moment to take away from her focus as she approached the plate. “I tried not to think about it too much. I (was) just taking deep breaths, just sticking to my routine that I would always do,” she said. “Baseball’s a very mental sport, so the best that you can do is just simplify everything.”

“We’re just happy for her,” said center fielder Derian Morphew ’23. “I don’t think we, in the moment, (think about) how important or influential of a moment it is. We’re just excited to see her get the chance to prove what she has.”

Morphew also pointed out the positives in seeing Pichardo swing early rather than late on a fastball in the low-90s, as rookies typically have to adjust to increased pitch speeds.

“I’m proud that we’re the team that did it, and Olivia’s the girl that’s doing it,” said senior catcher Jacob Burley ’23. “She works really hard and she’s very impressive. I think more than anything that she deserves it, and I’m just happy for her.”

The Bears managed just five hits in Friday’s game. Tobey McDonough ’23 and Bryant’s Chase Jeter matched zeros early on, keeping the game scoreless until the top of the fifth, but an offensive explosion from the Bulldogs helped them seize a blowout win in the series opener.

Bruno’s bats came alive in Saturday’s doubleheader, tallying 27 hits across both games. The Bears jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first contest on RBIs from Morphew and Ray Sass ’23 in the second inning. But Bryant stormed back with two massive frames, scoring all their runs in a three-run third and six-run fifth to knock Bears starter Santhosh Gottam ’25 out of the game.

The Bears attempted a comeback in the bottom of the ninth with a two-run rally but ultimately came up short 9-6.


In the second game on Saturday, the Bears erupted for an eight-run rally in the bottom of the third inning, highlighted by a soaring grand slam from left fielder Jared Johnson ’25. Morphew, Burley and Mika Petersen ’26 also had RBIs.

“We realized their tendencies late in counts,” said Burley on the Bears’ offensive display. “They wanted to try and get us to chase down and away with a breaking ball. I think we just kind of shifted our mindset (and) shifted our approach.”

“Being able to have a clearly defined approach and be aggressive … that forces pitchers to pitch to your strengths, not to their strengths,” Achilles said.

The Bears plated three more in the later innings, with freshman DJ Dillehay ’26, who went 3-for-5 across the doubleheader, contributing an RBI knock in his first career start at shortstop.

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Starting pitcher Bobby Olsen ’23, who was on the mound for the Bears’ first win of the season against Penn State the weekend prior, tossed six innings of two-run balls, striking out six batters in the process.

Olsen has “electric stuff,” said Achilles. “I think it’s hard to be comfortable in the batter’s box when he’s commanding his pitches, and we saw that again today.”

Reliever Jack Seppings ’25, a member of Team Great Britain’s roster for the World Baseball Classic, threw three dominant innings of relief, allowing just one run and one hit while striking out six Bulldogs to earn a save and lock down an 11-3 Bears win.

The win gave the Brown home crowd something to cheer for in the team’s first series of the season at Attanasio Family Field at Murray Stadium. 

“It’s exciting to see friends (and) some family come out and support us,” Morphew said. “It’s a little different of an atmosphere to be at home and have the entire stands rooting for you.”

The Bears will play one final game against Bryant at 3 p.m. Wednesday before kicking off Ivy League play against Columbia in New York on Saturday. The games will be televised on ESPN+.

Linus Lawrence

Linus is a sports editor from New York City. He is a junior concentrating in English, and when he's out of The Herald office you can find him rooting for the Mets, watching Star Wars or listening to The Beach Boys.

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