Grad Transfer Wanger Helps Israel Qualify for 2020 Olympics
LOS ANGELES – USC baseball graduate transfer Ben Wanger helped Isreal become the first team to qualify for the 2020 Olympics this past weekend when they won the Europe/Africa qualifying tournament in Italy.
Wanger appeared in all five games as Team Israel went 4-1 at the round-robin tournament which included The Netherlands, The Czech Republic, Spain, Italy and South Africa. Israel and The Netherlands each had 4-1 records over the course of play, but Israel owned the tie-breaking win over the Dutch with an 8-1 victory on the second day of competition. Israel joins Olympic hosts Japan as the only two teams confirmed for the six-team field at next summer's games.
Wanger, who transferred to USC this offseason after earning his undergraduate degree from Yale, saw time at first, DH and on the mound for Israel. He recorded three hits, scored four runs and drove in three more for the tournament. Wanger had his best game at the plate in the clinching game against South Africa, leading Israel to an 11-1 win with a pair of doubles, two runs scored and two RBI. He also tossed 4.1 shutout innings of relief against The Czech Republic, giving up just one hit and one walk while striking out five batters.
The versatile Wanger comes to USC after a successful Ivy league career at Yale where he earned All-League recognition as a reliever, first-baseman and DH, and was named a First-Team All-American by the Jewish Sports Review. Wanger earned his degree in economics and environmental engineering from Yale last May and is now working on a Masters in entrepreneurship and innovation here at USC.