Softball and baseball on same day! Woman makes NCAA history

Trailblazer Series alum Albayati becomes first woman in Division II to play both in one day

April 9th, 2024

Jillian Albayati continues to be a pioneer for women in the game of baseball.

On Sunday, she became the second player in collegiate history -- and the first in Division II -- to play baseball and softball on the same day when she accomplished the feat for Cal State San Marcos.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Cal State San Marcos baseball team was down four pitchers, including three starters, and were considering open tryouts in the middle of chasing the California Collegiate Athletic Association title.

Softball coach Stef Ewing immediately thought of Albayati, a right-handed pitcher for baseball and a third baseman for softball.

The move made sense, given Albayati began to play baseball when she was 3 years old -- and she played throughout high school. The All-CIF pitcher from Anaheim went 20-0 with a 1.68 ERA in her high-school career, all while hitting .360.

“I piped up and said, ‘We’ve got Jill on our team, and she played high school baseball,’” Ewing told San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Kirk Kenney. “She pitches and plays third base for the U.S. Women’s National Baseball Team. She can throw.’”

It was not the first time Albayati made a mark on women’s baseball.

She was selected to play in the inaugural Trailblazer Series. It was created in 2017 to provide girls with an opportunity to play baseball with other girls in a highly competitive environment.

The following year, Albayati participated in the 2018 Girls Baseball Breakthrough Series, a program that focuses on developing girls who play baseball.

Now, she has once again made her mark nearly seven years later -- this time, just days before the 2024 Trailblazer Series gets underway on Saturday.

When Albayati was offered the opportunity to pitch in a baseball game Sunday for Cal State San Marcos -- a first for Division II sports (Christina Elsbury did it last year for Division III Gallaude) -- there was no hesitation. According to the Union-Tribune, she threw a bullpen session on Friday to showcase her skills, and soon after, Albayati was added to the roster.

“We’re in a place where we’re pretty banged up on the mound,” Cougars baseball manager Jose Garcia told the newspaper. “It’s not asking her to come in and pitch in high-leverage situations. It’s more to give us a cushion, to eat some innings and help keep everybody as healthy as possible.”

When Sunday came around, the 5-foot-6 Albayati was ready to pitch in.

First came the softball game against Cal State Monterey Bay. After celebrating her teammate's walk-off grand slam in a dramatic 4-3 win, the sophomore switched out of her softball jersey and sprinted over to the nearby baseball field. She was called in from the bullpen two batters into the ninth inning.

Albayati was not intimidated by the seven batters she faced. She allowed two runs (one earned) off three hits and one walk to close out the inning.

She then returned to the softball field after her collegiate baseball debut for the second game of a doubleheader. She went 2-for-6 in the softball team's 4-2 victory to help the club complete the sweep -- before once again returning to the baseball dugout to end her day.

“It’s just amazing,” Albayati said to Kenney. “I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be able to do that.”

Albayati hopes to be able to continue playing both sports, but she told Ewing her priority is softball.

“But I know her love is baseball," Ewing said. "I thought we made a kid’s career in more ways than you can imagine by having her go out there. ... We made her dream come true today."

With both teams on the road an hour away for the next series, there is a chance she may travel with the baseball team while the injured pitchers continue to recover.

The newspaper also reported that Albayati was invited to pitch for the Savannah Bananas over the summer.