Third-Annual Bleacher Bum Barbecue Set for Friday

The Illini celebrated after beating Ohio State in the first Bleacher Bum Barbecue in 2009.
The Illini celebrated after beating Ohio State in the first Bleacher Bum Barbecue in 2009.

May 3, 2011

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Division of Intercollegiate Athletics announced Tuesday that the third-annual Bleacher Bum Barbecue, the premier promotion for baseball, will be held Friday, May 6, when Illinois hosts Ohio State at 6:05 p.m. at Illinois Field. The previous two editions of the event have drawn an average crowd of 4,009 fans to Illinois Field, including an all-time high of 5,214 in 2009.

This year's Bleacher Bum Barbecue will feature free admission and parking, and the first 2,000 fans will receive free food. Fans can stick around after the final out to enjoy a postgame fireworks show and there will be inflatable games for kids to enjoy. Gates open at 5 p.m. with first pitch at 6:05 p.m.

The Fighting Illini and Buckeyes are in the thick of an extraordinarily tight Big Ten race, with Ohio State currently sitting in third place in the conference standings with a 9-6 league record and Illinois tied for fourth at 8-7. Purdue and Michigan State are tied for the Big Ten lead at 10-5 with three conference series - a total of nine games - remaining on the schedule.

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.