Former Chaffey College baseball standout Alex Caldera struck out a career-high 11 and allowed just five hits over 7 2/3 scoreless innings in his best start of the season Friday as the Wilmington Blue Rocks, a Carolina League affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, edged the Potomac Nationals, 2-1.
Caldera (2-2) did not walk a batter and lowered his ERA to 3.32 through six starts. The 24-year-old right-hander faced 26 batters, inducing seven fly balls and two grounders.
The 11-strikeout effort eclipses his previous best of 10, also against Potomac on May 7, 2009. He’s second in the Carolina League with 45 strikeouts over 40 2/3 innings.
Caldera fanned two in the second, third and fourth innings. He caught Rob Jacobsen looking for his final out in the eighth inning before Buddy Baumann came on in relief and struck out Stephen Lombardozzi to end the frame.
Jamie Romak’s two-out, two-run homer in the fourth was enough for Caldera to pick up his his first victory since April 22.
Caldera survived a rocky 2009 campaign in which he finished 5-10 with a 4.77 ERA in 27 starts for Wilmington. He earned Carolina League Pitcher of the Week honors last Aug. 31.
He was a 13th round draft pick out of Chaffey in 2007. While pitching for the Panthers he earned Foothill Conference Pitcher of th Year honors.