Fifth-Annual Bleacher Bum Barbecue Set for Sunday
April 9, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The fifth-annual Bleacher Bum Barbecue presented by FOX 55/27, the premier promotion for Fighting Illini baseball, will be held Sunday, April 14, when Illinois hosts Purdue at 2:05 p.m. at Illinois Field. The event has quickly become successful, as the previous four editions have drawn an average crowd of 3,134 fans to Illinois Field, including an all-time high of 5,214 in 2009. This year's event will feature free food for the first 1,000 people along with an inflatable obstacle course, face painting and balloon animals.
Free admission and free parking will be offered at the event, with free food beginning an hour before first pitch at 1 p.m. Fans also will be able to play games and earn prizes during the Big Ten showdown between the Illini and Boilermakers, which will be aired live on the Big Ten Network.
The first Bleacher Bum Barbecue was a night to remember at Illinois Field, with the school-record crowd of 5,214 being treated to a thrilling ninth-inning comeback that saw the No. 25 Illini score three runs against Jake Hale, the Big Ten's best closer, to top the No. 27 Buckeyes. Left fielder Casey McMurray delivered the game-winning hit, a single through the right side, to drive in Mike Giller after OSU had committed a pair of errors in the ninth.
A season-high 2,805 fans attended the 2010 edition of the Bleacher Bum Barbecue but the Illini couldn't pull out a victory, falling 11-4 to Northwestern despite a three-hit night by shortstop Josh Parr and a pair of RBIs from Giller. In 2011, the Illini pulled out a 13-9 comeback victory over Ohio State in front of a season-high 2,019 fans. Will Strack threw four scoreless innings of relief and Illinois scored six runs in its final three at bats to take the series-opener from the Buckeyes.