By Jim Fenton
EASTON, Mass (April 7, 2011) - As he was sitting out the 2009 college baseball season, Bryan Galligan could only wonder what the future held.
The Brockton resident had transferred from Franklin Pierce University, where he played on the junior varsity team in 2008, to Stonehill College and he wasn't sure if he would resume playing.
"When I'm sitting out there watching games and my friends are playing and I'm not playing, oh yeah, that was really frustrating," said Galligan, a right-handed pitcher. "I didn't know if I was going to be back. I didn't know if I was going to be able to compete. But it worked out."
Indeed it has worked out for the Brockton High School graduate, who was a member of the Post 35 American Legion team that won the 2007 Massachusetts championship.
Galligan joined the Stonehill program in the 2010 season, and after getting back in the swing of things on the mound that year, is putting it all together this spring.
In five starts, Galligan is 3-1 with a 1.51 earned run average and has 39 strikeouts in 35 2-3 innings for the Skyhawks (19-7).
Galligan, who plans to return to Stonehill for his final season of eligibility in 2012, has given up just six runs and 22 hits, and his lone loss was a 4-3 decision to Adelphi University on March 26.
After taking the '09 season off following the move from Franklin Pierce to Stonehill, Galligan was 3-1 with a 5.62 ERA last year. He struggled with control problems, walking 19 and striking out 23, and was not in the rotation at the end of the season.
Galligan pitched for the Augusta Nationals in the Great South League last summer and also worked with Stonehill pitching coach Nick SantaBarbara on a cut fastball. He returned to the Skyhawks last fall armed with another weapon and with more confidence.
"It was good to play (in Georgia)," said Galligan. "It was another wood bat league, so I liked that. It was kids from all over and the competition was real good. I think playing in a competitive league like that definitely helped me this year.
"I added a cutter to my pitches, so throwing my cut fastball has improved the way I can pitch. Our pitching coach really stressed trying to work on it. He thought that it would be a good pitch for me to throw.
"I feel it's helped me a lot because it's a pitch that I can control and it's a pitch I can control in any part of the count."
Galligan is getting ahead of hitters this season rather than running up his pitch count, as was the case last season.
He went eight innings and allowed one run with seven strikeouts in a no-decision against Felician on Feb. 26 and gave up no runs and two hits in a March 13 victory over Bentley. Galligan also defeated the Falcons on March 19, striking out nine and giving up two runs in 72/3 innings, and last Sunday, he shut down American International College, allowing two hits with 11 strikeouts in six innings.
"By the fifth inning last year, he was up to 110 pitches," said Stonehill coach Pat Boen. "Now he's ahead of guys and he's able to go deep into games. Last year, I thought he was a talented kid with a strong arm, but he was trying to overpower people. He was just a thrower.
"He had been out of baseball almost a year without a pitching coach. He's really throwing the cut fastball throws for strikes. He's not walking batters. Now he's getting ahead of hitters and become a pitcher, not a thrower."
Galligan spent three semesters at Franklin Pierce and said, "I liked it there, but I just wanted to play. I didn't see myself playing up there."
He returned to the Brockton area after looking at Stonehill and Suffolk University and is a business management major.
"At first, I was (disappointed after things not working out at Franklin Pierce), but once I transferred, I realized I could actually pitch in this league," said Galligan. "I'm really happy right now that I'm starting for another team."
Now, after sitting out in 2009 and gaining valuable experience a year ago, Galligan is part of a quality starting rotation for the Skyhawks.
"I was out of baseball for so long," said Galligan. "I felt like I lost my competitiveness. This year, I feel more comfortable on the mound. I feel more confident. Last year, I was just nervous to pitch. Last year, it didn't go so good. I can't explain it.
"Last year really, really motivated me for this year because I knew I could be way better than I was last year. I was kind of disappointed. I started during the season, but at the end of the season, I kind of fizzled out and had a few rough starts.
"Not pitching at the end of the season really motivated me. I just wanted to get to what I knew I could do."