CSUSM's Albayati plays softball, baseball in 1 day - 5 minutes read

Apr 8, 2024, 10:14 PM ET

People figured the Cal State San Marcos baseball and softball coaches were simply kidding around when they recently started discussing the idea of Jillian Albayati playing for both of them.

Oh no, Jose Garcia and Stef Ewing were completely serious. So when the short-handed Cougars baseball team needed a pitcher this past weekend, everybody knew Albayati could handle the job.

She's a reliable right-handed pitcher in baseball and plays third base for softball.

"We've got an arm, and we've got a legit arm," Ewing shared by phone Monday night of the conversations and confidence they had in Albayati.

Albayati became just the second player in collegiate history and first in Division II to appear in formal baseball and softball games the same day when she pitched the final inning in the opener of a doubleheader against Sonoma State on Sunday.

"We're thrilled by so much of it," Ewing said. "It's a great story and there really is an opportunity for Jill to go again for them with the health of the pitching staff."

Fortunately with the school's baseball and softball fields only about a football field apart, Albayati was able to play softball for the Cougars in the morning before she switched gears -- and gear -- for some baseball next door. Cal State San Marcos posted side-by-side photos of her on social media from both games.

History made.'s Jillian Albayati just became the first woman to ever play for . In doing so, she became the first student-athlete to play in a softball and baseball game on the same day.#BleedBlue pic.twitter.com/1xrKTNZNZ7— CSUSM Athletics () April 7, 2024

"It was so awesome," she told NBC San Diego. "It just felt like where I needed to be at that moment, it felt pretty amazing."

Thanks to California's rainy spring "putting wrinkles in the schedule" as Ewing described it, the first-place baseball team had two nine-inning games Saturday followed by one nine-inning contest and a seven-inning second game Sunday.

Garcia had even tried to reach Ewing on Saturday to see if she might be able to spare Albayati, but Ewing didn't check her phone in the middle of a game. By Sunday, they had formed a plan that the sports information director for the baseball team would reach out to a colleague with the softball program if Albayati was needed.

When Ewing received word "baseball needs Jill right now," Albayati changed uniforms "and took off running with cleats and her glove."

Between softball games, rather than doing the regular chores such as raking, Albayati's teammates scurried to the baseball field to watch and cheer her on.

"You could just hear the roars of people when they announced Jill and she took the field," Ewing said. "What's great about it is there was never a doubt in my mind Jill could do it."

Ewing loved the idea of Albayati helping out when the Division II school's baseball team was down several pitchers and needed reinforcements.

"Jill is the most humble person you'll meet in your whole life," Ewing said. "She threw out the first pitch for the Angels. She threw out the first pitch for the Dodgers, but you'd never know it because she doesn't talk about it."

This isn't anything new for the sophomore infielder who played baseball for Anaheim High School and has played in the USA Baseball system on the women's national team.

"Jill is the most humble person you'll meet in your whole life," said softball coach Stef Ewing. "She threw out the first pitch for the Angels. She threw out the first pitch for the Dodgers, but you'd never know it because she doesn't talk about it." Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

Look at her impressive accomplishments last year: Albayati started a game for the Americans, had a hit against Korea and earned a win on the mound against Canada with five strong innings and three strikeouts. Against Hong Kong, she doubled, scored and drove in three runs.

She received plenty of shoutouts and congratulations for the remarkable feat: "History!! Congratulations to former MLB Develops Girls Baseball player " wrote MLB's social media profile for development of baseball and softball.

No woman had ever appeared in a baseball game for Cal State San Marcos. And after the 5-foot-6 Albayati made history, she returned to the softball diamond to play the second game of that doubleheader and had a pair of hits.

Will Ewing continue to share her two-way star in the coming seasons? That's to be determined. Albayati has an invitation to try out for the Savannah Bananas, so if she signs with the professional club she will surrender any remaining baseball eligibility but can keep playing softball for the Cougars.

And when the opportunity presents itself again, Ewing is all for supporting Albayati through another chance to shine on both ballfields.

"She was so calm and confident, 'No problem, I got this,'" the coach said. "I'm thrilled for her. She's a diehard and has been playing baseball since she was 3. I'm really happy for her and really happy we can help out the baseball team in a tough spot."

Source: ESPN

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